Monday, February 27, 2012

On Leaving Paris

Read all day Sunday. Finished The Greater Journey by David McCullough. All 456 pages not including the Source Notes, Bibliography, and Index (although I did browse those).

I was a little sad when we reached the turn of the twentieth century and the American men and women who had filled the streets and studios of Paris were either back home, soon to be dead, or already in the grave.

It was a marvelous journey. I met so many folks I didn't know and many that I just thought I knew. What a project for Mr. McCullough to research and organize and write a book of such scope and detail. And even when I got lost amid some of the unfamiliar names, historical events, dates, and the avenues of Paris, I just let myself go with it.

After all, there wasn't going to be a test or quiz on the information.

I know I was a bit put off at the beginning of the book and I am so glad now that I stuck with it. One page at a time and I was mightily rewarded.

One of the artists mentioned toward the end of the book was a fellow named Robert Henri. Here, in the source notes is what McCullough wrote:

Robert Henri, who was to become a leading American painter of the early twentieth century and was one of the most inspiring of all American art teachers, also wrote a delightful book called The Art Spirit, with recollections of his time in Paris and much else.

Now, I just happen to have a copy of The Art Spirit. It was recommended by a watercolorist when I asked her what was the one book she would want me to read about being an artist. Shortly after that, I found a used copy at a consignment store. This was about a year ago. The shop had just received a great number of art books from the personal library of a local artist who had recently passed away. I bought several. Of course.

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