John Updike (1932–2009) was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania. In 1954 he began to publish in The New Yorker, where he continued to contribute short stories, poems, and criticism until his death. His major work was the set of four novels chronicling the life of Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, two of which, Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His last books were the novel The Widows of Eastwick and Due Considerations, a collection of his essays and criticism.


A Wee Irish Suite

Paris–Dublin, at Night Cobwebs of orange pinpricks tinge the void beneath our roaring wings; myriad lives give off their sullen glow. A brighter gnat, a helicopter beaming traffic news, slides sideways through the thickest of the swarm; thin filaments connect the villages that mar …

Splendid Lies

J.M.W. Turner

an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., October 1, 2007–January 6, 2008; the Dallas Museum of Art, February 10–May 18, 2008; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 24–September 21, 2008
In the century and half since Turner’s death in 1851, evolving taste has reversed the debate over his merits.

‘The Clarity of Things’

The National Endowment for the Humanities, together with the American Library Association, has launched in 2008 a program that will supply classrooms and public libraries with reproductions of significant American art, one example on each side of twenty high-quality posters, forty examples in all, under the overall title Picturing America.


Georges Seurat: The Drawings

Catalog of the exhibition by Jodi Hauptman, with essays by Karl Buchberg, Hubert Damisch, Bridget Riley, Richard Shiff, and Richard Thomson
Impressionism, our impression is, proceeded by instinct, its stabs of high color pursuing what the eyes of Monet and Renoir and Pissarro and Sisley found in the open air, as sunlight’s spectrum flitted across the sight of haystacks, poppy-dotted fields, and rippled water. Analysis was left to Postimpressionism, whose varied …

Gold & Geld

Gustav Klimt: The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections

Catalog of the exhibition edited by Renée Price, with contributions by Ronald S. Lauder and others.
The Gustav Klimt exhibition, which opened on October 18, 2007, will fill the Neue Galerie until the end of June next year. Its attention-riveting center is Klimt’s 1907 portrait of the prominent Viennese society figure and art patron Adele Bloch-Bauer (see illustration), executed …

The Purest of Styles

Vincent van Gogh—Painted with Words: The Letters to Émile Bernard

Catalog of the exhibition by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten, and Nienke Bakker
Renzo Piano’s chaste blond addition to the Morgan Library holds for the remainder of the year, in the Morgan Stanley Gallery East, a small but intense exhibition centered on the twenty-two letters written in 1887– 1889 by Vincent van Gogh to Émile Bernard. Bernard, who was only nineteen at the …

Serra’s Triumph

Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years

Catalog of the exhibition by Kynaston McShine and Lynne Cooke
No doubt about it, the show is a triumph, the biggest interactive art event in Manhattan since Christo’s saffron flags fluttered in a wintry Central Park over two years ago. The day your reviewer attended Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years, a sunny Monday in June, the two large sculptures in …

Frankie Laine (1913–2007)

The Stephens’ Sweet Shop, 1949. Bald Walt at work, “butterflying” hot dogs— splitting them lengthwise for the griddle and serving them up in hamburger buns— while Boo, his smiling, slightly anxious wife (a rigid perm and excess, too-bright lipstick), provides to teen-aged guzzlers at …