Tag Archives: Vincent van Gogh

The Sculptor, the Spy and a Moment of Political Sincerity

The story of how the highly distinguished art historian and former Cambridge Apostle Anthony Blunt was unmasked in 1979 as having been a spy for Soviet Russia, has a peculiar appeal for my generation and roundabout. I imagine John le … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Anyone's Game - my latest novel, Art History, Britain Today, Cold War, Russian Revolution 1917, Writing | Tagged , , , , , ,

The German 1930s and the Future of Art: more from A Shoe Story

When Heidegger commented on van Gogh’s painting ‘The Shoes’ (aka ‘Boots with Laces’) fifty years, from 1886 to 1936, had passed, and what fifty years, in Europe! Van Gogh himself had expected the nineteenth century to go out with a … Continue reading

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From the Life of a van Gogh critic: the debate over Diamat and the Run-in with Heidegger

The leading mid-20th century art critic Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996) was a funnel for the European ideas that rapidly modernized the American art scene between the wars. He was a superb commentator on van Gogh and Cézanne, and it was his … Continue reading

Posted in A Shoe Story, Art History, Current Affairs, New York Intellectuals, Philosophy and Philosophers, Things German | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“America” shouldn’t dominate our view of art: a view from the Shoe Story

Jacques Derrida put his finger on something when in 1977 he looked into an ‘American’ element in the Heidegger/van Gogh controversy. He found that when America’s then top art critic Meyer Schapiro attacked Heidegger for a ‘wrong’ reading of the … Continue reading

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Anselm Kiefer: scholar of van Gogh, reader of Heidegger

The themes of myth and German history have been prominent in all of Anselm Kiefer’s lonely, beautiful and dehumanized work. Kiefer, now the subject of a major retrospective at London’s Royal Academy, took up the challenge to post-war German artists … Continue reading

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Van Gogh and The Joy of Living

Remember Van Gogh’s 1885 painting Still-life with Bible? Here it is, number 117 in De la Faille’s catalogue. You can see the original in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The Bible though it glows with authority is illegible. You … Continue reading

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