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Dimensions:
224 × 168 mm
344 pages
Format:
Hardback
ISBN:
9781789140552
Illustrations:
211 illustrations, 133 in colour
Published:
01 Jun 2019
  • £25.00

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Creative Gatherings Meeting Places of Modernism Mary Ann Caws

Art is often seen as a solitary, even reclusive, endeavour. But artists, writers and musicians throughout history have found themselves energized by the company of others. Sharing ideas around a table has always provided a starting, and a continuing, place for fruitful exchanges between artists of all kinds. In her fascinating new book, Mary Ann Caws explores a rich variety of gathering places, past and present, that have been conducive to the release and sustenance of creative energies. Creative Gatherings surveys meeting locations across Europe and the United States, from cityscapes to island hideouts, from private homes to public cafés and artists’ colonies. Examples include Florence Griswold’s house in Old Lyme, Connecticut, meeting place of the Old Lyme Art Colony; Prague’s Le Louvre café, haunt of Kafka and Einstein; Picasso’s modernist hangout in Barcelona, Els Quatre Gats; Charleston, gathering place of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant; and the cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Montparnasse: the haunts of Apollinaire, Sartre and Patti Smith. The book interweaves two hundred examples of collaborative artworks through-out the text, with 120 in colour.

‘“They were all here,” writes Mary Ann Caws about one of the astonishing “creative gatherings” she summons from the aching past in this vivid, impossible-to-put-down book. The next best thing to being there is to relish this delicious mix of gossip, intense creativity, and cultural analysis. Under Caws’s spell, crisscrossing the globe in search of those magical pockets of collaborative electricity, we all become what she calls “lovers of gatherings.”.’ – Christopher Benfey, Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and author of Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay

‘There are few scholars alive that combine erudition with first-hand experience like Mary Ann Caws. Caws’ writing has the enigmatic, serendipitous and discursive character of the writers, poets and artists she has spent her life with. The seemingly disparate threads of people, places and polemics meander, intersect and tangle in a rich warp and weft; a travelogue in time, spaces and ideas, taking the reader on a voyage of intellectual and historical discovery. Funny, insightful and provocative, Creative Gatherings shows that despite the ubiquity of new media, spending time together – at bars, cafés, salons and sitting rooms – remains at the heart of human creativity.’ – James M. Bradburne, General Director of the Pinacoteca di Brera and Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense

Creative Gatherings documents the artists' colonies, bohemian haunts, country retreats, and favorite watering holes of some of the greatest cultural luminaries of the modern age. Rather than focus on the contributions of individual artists and writers, this enchanting book chronicles the shared lives of the various avant-garde communities across Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Beautifully written and informed by meticulous research, Mary Ann Caws has given us an instant classic: a must-read for anyone interested in the history and legacy of modernism.’ – Michael R. Taylor, Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

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Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor Emerita and Resident Professor of English, French and Comparative Literature at the Graduate School, City University of New York. She is the author of several books for Reaktion, including The Modern Art Cookbook (2013), Pablo Picasso (2005) and Salvador Dalí (2008).