My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator

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A unique look at the evolution of modern art in America, from art historian and eminent former curator of the Chicago Art Institute Katharine Kuh, a key figure in opening America+s eyes to contemporary art. -Any artist worth his salt is in advance of his time,+ writes Katharine Kuh. Picasso, Duchamp, LŽger, Mir—, Braque, Chagall, Klee, Calder, Davis, Hopper, Weston, Rothko, Arensberg, Dale, Philips. These are just a few of the artists, photographers, and collectors Katharine Kuh knew and worked with during her long career. One of America+s pivotal forces in the arts for over four decades, she began with her own gallery in Chicago in the early 1930s. To sell contemporary art in post-Depression America was almost suicidal, but with guts and gumption Kuh survived. In 1954, the Chicago Art Institute named her its first curator of modern art-a position of great prestige. Over the next 26 years, scouring the world, she acquired some of the most famous pieces in the institute+s collection, and formed close relationships with the artists themselves. Here she gives us insights into their personal lives, their creative influences, and the way they worked. After her death in 1998, noted art historian Avis Berman, Kuh+s literary executor, selected her key writings for this book.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; First Edition edition (January 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559707690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559707695
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

Customer Reviews

An Affair to Remember

13 people found this helpful.
 on January 15, 2006
By Christian Schlect
Those interested in American art of the last century will find great pleasure in reading this book. Chicago and New York are the centers from which Katharine Kuh radiated. As a museum curator, art dealer, and published critic, she was personally close to many of the modern masters. In this book, she provides short but telling stories about their work and lives. I especially liked the chapters on Rothko, Tobey and Noguchi.

but I loved this book

 on April 22, 2016
By texan
I really do not care for Modern Art, but I loved this book. Learned more about Modern art history than I could have imagined, and enjoyed it!! Would recommend this book for anyone interested in art history, art museums, art dealers, art collectors, and American Art history. VERy good read.

My kind of book!

 on July 9, 2013
By Sondra Zell
I loved reading this book. I enjoy reading about the lives of artists. This book was particularly interesting because it was also the story of Katherine Kuh, an art dealer and curator, during her most productive years. Although I was familiar with the work of all of the artists she highlighted it was the personal relationships Kuh had with each of them which made the book come alive. It was also about my own time and in places familiar and dear to me. It very much made me feel as though I was walking the streets and seeing the sights she did. I was THERE.

Five Stars

 on January 7, 2017
By Retired & Loving It!
Great background info on The Chicago Art Institutes Curator.

Classy Curator

 on March 16, 2014
By Sandra Percy
Kuh’s memories revealed her deeply personal ties to some of America’s most outstanding 20th Century artists & provided richly refreshing vignettes. Her charm, wit, and breathe of knowledge of the art world in her era made the book delightful reading.

Five Stars

 on June 22, 2016
By Will Roche
Must read for serious artists.

Four Stars

 on April 28, 2016
By flukie
Good book on art history.

Back in the day, and what a day

5 people found this helpful.
 on June 26, 2006
By C. Ebeling
As a general reader with an appreciation for art, I loved MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MODERN ART. It is a vital and highly readable document of one of the most important eras in art history.

Provides a moving memoir

2 people found this helpful.
 on November 6, 2006
By Midwest Book Review
In the 1930s interest in modern art was low – but Katharine Kuh opened a gallery in Chicago anyway, exhibiting many then-obscure artists form Paul Klee to Ansel Adams and Marc Chagall. Her passion for modern art fostered their careers and led to a world-wide revitalization of interest, documented here in a blend of modern art history and autobiography. Her friend Avis Berman, a art historian, edited her writings for this book after Kuh’s death: it provides a moving memoir of a life in the art world at a time when her artists’ visionary works weren’t widely recognized.

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