Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I'm reading "Depths of Glory," by Irving Stone about Camille Pissarro, and I'm being introduced to a gallery of 19th century Paris artists. One of those periods in history when a remarkable group of characters coalesced in one place.

In another life, I wouldn't have objected to a career as an art historian.

What a luxury to be able to Google each artist, look at their work, and then move on to the next! My parents had a pretty strong collection of art books when I was growing up--sadly, mostly black and white because color was so expensive back then, but I used to pour over them. (I also read Stone's books about Van Gogh and Michelangelo back then).

The Pissarro book itself is somewhat superficial and old-fashioned, if filled with entirely too much geographical Paris, which means nothing to me. You can tell Stone is basically putting words in the mouths of the artists from their letters. But...fair enough. I am but a student and learning.

I recently finished a biography of Raymond Chandler; and it really puts into perspective the publishing industry in the mid-20th century. For instance, I was not aware of lending (for profit) libraries, which were a huge part of the book business in the early part of the century. Amazing, the snobbery toward mystery writers! Even more amazing was how writers could actually make a decent living writing for the pulps. The story of my life, from SF and Comics and genre books--and my current disdain for most "literary" books.

I've been reading a lot of books about creative people. (A bunch of full books about single movies: Chinatown, Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, The Wild Bunch, The Godfather...)

I don't regret owning a bookstore as my career, but oh, for the chance to immerse myself in the arts and nothing but the arts! I'm not sure what good it does me this late in the game, but I still love it.

I pulled myself away from the TV over the last couple years--especially cable news. Now I'm trying to pull away from internet browsing and into reading again. I don't know where my interests come from, or what good they do me, but I sure enjoy reading about them.


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