Jackie Wullschlager is a literary critic and European Arts Correspondent of the Financial Times. Her biography of Victorian and Edwardian children's writers, Inventing Wonderland, was published in 1995 to wide critical acclaim. She lives in London with her husband and three children.
Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2008.Costa Book Awards 2008 Judges' comment: "Not just the artist's life and his work but a chronicle of the shattering events of the 20th century. Great scholarship, enlightening observations about the paintings and an engaging style - we couldn't put it down."
Renowned English artist Geoffrey Humphries (1945- ) is arguably the greatest figurative painter living and working in Venice today. A master of oil painting, portraiture, watercolour and drawing, this is the first publication to bring together the many facets of his work. Humphries' Venetian studio has been the setting for a cast of remarkable characters for more than 50 years, from rock stars, royalty and writers to eminent Venetians, artists and musicians several of whose portraits are featured here. His legendary soirees have meanwhile provided the inspiration for his kaleidoscopic theatre pieces - surreal fantasies which recall the depraved allure of Secessionist Vienna and the cabarets of the Weimar Republic; while the shimmering light and jewel tones of Venice continually inspire his watercolour portraits of the city. However, Humphries is perhaps best known for his figurative works his sensual nuance of line capturing the essence of his subjects, whether in charcoal or in oils, often transforming them into playful conversation pieces with his characteristic inventiveness and wit. The extraordinary variety and beauty of Geoffrey Humphries' work is showcased here in this retrospective portfolio, which chronicles his remarkable life and oeuvre, and serves as a homage to his adopted city - Venice, a fusion of past and present, the city of both yesterday and today.
'When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is.' Picasso said this in the 1950s, when he and Chagall were eminent neighbours living in splendour on the Cote d'Azur. But behind Chagall's role as a pioneer of modern art lay struggle, heartbreak, bitterness, lost love, exile, and the miracle of survival. Born the son of a Russian Jewish herring merchant, Chagall fled the repressive potato-coloured czarist empire in 1911 to develop his genius in Paris, living alongside Modigliani and Leger in La Ruche, the artist's colony where you either died or came out famous . Through war and revolution in Bolshevik Russia, Weimar Berlin, occupied France and 1940s New York, he gave form to his dreams, longings and memories in paintings which are among the most humane and joyful of the 20th century. Drawing on numerous interviews with the artist's family, friends, dealers, collectors, and illustrated with two hundred paintings, drawings and photographs, many previously unseen, this elegantly written biography gives for the first time a full and true account of Chagall the man and the artist - and of a life as intense, theatrical and haunting as his paintings.
The first English language biographer to have returned to the original Danish sources, Wullshlager creates a fascinating picture of Andersen as a deeply troubled man, as far from Danny Kaye's all-singing version as it is possible to imagine. Desperately sensitive, sexually confused and socially awkward, Andersen found grace and acceptance through the creation of a distinct and beguiling literary world, becoming, as was once said of Tolkien, 'the creative equivalent of a people'. Wullschlager's achievement is to demonstrate the unity of his troubled life and and the soaring achievement of his work. He appears in this biography more various and more flawed, but also more convincing and more impressive, than ever before.