Russell Lee, Magritte, Lucian Freud, Bruce McCall, Francis Bacon: Fine Arts Previews, Nov. 2020, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Five major studies in the run-up to the holidays.

Appel, Mary Jane. Russell Lee: A Photographer’s Life and Legacy. Liveright: Norton. Nov. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781631496165. $40. BIOGRAPHY/PHOTOGRAPHYcover of Francis Bacon biography
Published to coincide with a Library of Congress exhibition, this work studies Russell Lee, a contemporary of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, who was the Farm Security Administration’s most prolific photographer. Photographic historian Appel covers both art and life, offering more than 100 images throughout to honor an artist who should be better known.

Danchev, Alexander. Magritte: A Life. Pantheon. Nov. 2020. 512p. ISBN 9780307908193. $45. Downloadable. BIOGRAPHY/ FINE ARTS
A biographer of Braque and Cézanne, as well as a professor of international relations, Danchev argues that iconic iconoclast René Magritte was the single greatest influence on imagery in the modern world and a constant challenge to our understanding of reality itself. With 32 pages of color inserts and black-and-white images throughout; Danchev died just as he was completing this work.

Feaver, William. The Lives of Lucian Freud: Fame, 1968–2011. Knopf. Nov. 2020. 528p. ISBN 9780525657668. $45. Downloadable. BIOGRAPHY/FINE ARTS
Distinguished British art critic Feaver follows up 2019’s The Lives of Lucian Freud: The Restless Years, 1922–1968 with a study of the artist at the height of his powers and his fame, drawing on nearly four decades of conversations with Freud as well as the artist’s letters and papers. Anticipating a major retrospective being organized for the centenary of Freud’s birth in 2022.

McCall, Bruce. How Did I Get Here?: A Memoir. Blue Rider. Nov. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780399172281. $27. Downloadable. MEMOIR/FINE ARTS
Coauthor with David Letterman of This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me), McCall started in the commercial arts, then switched about, ending up writing and painting funny stuff that got him to National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, and finally The New Yorker as one of its celebrated cartoonists. Here’s the story of his trek from Ontario to New York City; with an introduction by Adam Gopnik.

Stevens, Mark & Annalyn Swan. Francis Bacon: Revelations. Knopf. Nov. 2020. 944p. ISBN 9780307271624. $50. BIOGRAPHY/FINE ARTS
Stevens, a former art critic of New York magazine, and Swan, a former arts editor of Newsweek who teaches biography at CUNY’s Graduate Center, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for de Kooning: An American Master. Here, in nearly 1,000 pages, they explore in-depth the life and work of powerhouse artist Francis Bacon, whose disturbing images have shaped contemporary iconography.





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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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