Sanford Schwartz is the author of Christen Købke and William Nicholson. (October 2017)


The Master of Eglfing-Haar

Eugen Gabritschevsky: 1893–1979

an exhibition at La Maison Rouge, Paris, July 8–September 18, 2016; Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, November 11, 2016–February 19, 2017; and the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, March 13–August 13, 2017
Should Eugen Gabritschevsky be called an outsider artist? The question hovers over his pictures, adding yet another level of mystery to them. In a number of obvious senses, he was certainly the opposite of the figures we generally think of as outsiders. Their bodies of work, if one can generalize, tend to emphasize (in quite different styles) lines, patterns, and structures. Gabritschevsky’s scenes in comparison are practically amorphous. He was also very different from many outsiders as a person.

Taking Her Place in American Art

Florine Stettheimer: Picnic at Bedford Hills, 40 5/16 x 50 1/4 inches, 1918

Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry

an exhibition at the Jewish Museum, New York City, May 5–September 24, 2017; and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, October 21, 2017–January 28, 2018
Florine Stettheimer was known in her time and has continued to be thought of as one of the more exotic and least classifiable figures in American art. When Paul Rosenfeld wrote about her in 1945, a year after she died at seventy-two, he likened one of her paintings, which generally …

A Swedish Collector in Paris

Jean-Siméon Chardin: The Morning Toilette, 19 1/4 x 15 1/2 inches, 1740–1741

Treasures from the Nationalmuseum of Sweden: The Collections of Count Tessin

an exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum, New York City, February 3–May 14, 2017
Some of us suddenly find ourselves very pleased that the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm is closed for refurbishing. It has resulted in the museum sending to the Morgan Library and Museum an unusually good loan show of paintings and drawings. Everything we see was collected, though not always for himself, by …

‘The Sheer Excitement of Being an Artist’

David Salle: Tennyson, 78 x 117 x 5 1/2 inches, 1983

How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking About Art

by David Salle
In an article on André Derain in How to See, his first collection of art writings, the painter David Salle says that, as “a former enfant terrible myself,” he has been drawn to the French artist’s story—that of a figure who was crucially a part of the beginnings of modern …


Quiet, Sensuous Piero

Piero della Francesca: Saint Jerome in the Wilderness, 20 1/8 x 15 inches, 1450

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters,” is the first ever exhibition about Piero’s devotional works. They are small-size paintings created for bedrooms or set-apart areas in the home. In spirit they take us to much the same austere and bare-bones realm as his more public pictures. Yet they present more directly and pleasurably the qualities that make Piero such a special figure, even by the heady standards of the fifteenth century, when so many Italian and Flemish artists, were finding one personal way after another to portray the actual, corporeal world they lived in.

Anselm Kiefer, in Love with Loss

A still from Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow showing Anselm Kiefer's 'tottering, bunker-like' structures

Over the years, Kiefer’s work, continually summoning up Bible stories, wartime legends, and mystical awarenesses, has become woozily grandiloquent. He is an extraordinary showman, however. His pictures, where model ships or women’s frocks are often placed atop images of endless fields, the sea, or forests, can have a phenomenal physical presence. He is a master transformer of materials. From the first he made lead, steel, straw, glass, or crumbly clumps of cement with rebar sticking out bespeak fragility and delicacy.

Otto Dix, Our Contemporary

This summer, the Neue Galerie in New York is offering the first large-scale American exhibition of the gleefully provocative German painter Otto Dix (1891–1969)—providing a rare opportunity, as New York Review contributor Sanford Schwartz says, “to appreciate an artist who could almost be our contemporary.” Here are a selection of images from the show, together with comments taken from Schwartz’s piece on Dix, which will appear in the Review‘s August 19 issue. The exhibition closes August 30. (Images provided by Neue Galerie New York.)

Innocuous Items Gone Creepily Wrong: Taking the Pulse of Art in New York

New Yorkers currently have two large exhibitions with which to take the pulse of contemporary art, and neither shows the patient feeling altogether well. At the Whitney Biennial, this time around presenting many videos along with paintings, installations, and artists’ collaboratives performing music, the spirit is retiring, docile, and a little like spending an afternoon at some lackluster shows in Chelsea.