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Clement Greenberg

A Life

2004
Author:

Florence Rubenfeld

Clement Greenberg

The only book-length biography of this controversial critic, now in paperback for the first time!

This is the only book-length biography of Clement Greenberg—the most influential critic of modern art in the second half of the twentieth century.

The intellectual power of Greenberg’s essays helped bring about the shift that saw New York replace Paris as the art capital of the Western world; his aggressive personality and involvement in the New York art scene triggered a potent backlash.

Rubenfeld has written a gossipy, vivid, and above all intelligent life of Clement Greenberg—not an easy figure to depict. At once sympathetic and shrewdly insightful about his polarizing character, she has given us a man whose fabled orneriness and power hunger was redeemed by his love of art.

James Atlas

Love him or hate him, admire him or revile him, there is no doubt that Clement Greenberg was the most influential critic of modern art in the second half of the twentieth century. His championing of abstract expressionist painters such as Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, and David Smith put the United States on the international art map. His support for color-field painters Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland dramatically accelerated their careers. The intellectual power of his polemical essays helped bring about the midcentury shift in which New York replaced Paris as the art capital of the Western world; his aggressive personality and fierce involvement in the New York art scene triggered a backlash so potent that one critic termed it a “patricide.”


Clement Greenberg

Florence Rubenfeld was the East Coast editor of the New Art Examiner for many years. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Clement Greenberg

Rubenfeld has written a gossipy, vivid, and above all intelligent life of Clement Greenberg—not an easy figure to depict. At once sympathetic and shrewdly insightful about his polarizing character, she has given us a man whose fabled orneriness and power hunger was redeemed by his love of art.

James Atlas

Rubenfeld has given us an absorbing, fair-minded biography, which is scrupulously sympathetic to her subject.

The New Yorker