Antoine's Alphabet: Watteau and His World

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 2009 - Art - 207 pages
6 Reviews
Antoine Watteau, one of the most mysterious painters who ever lived, is the inspiration for this delightful investigation of the tangled relationship between art and life. Weaving together historical fact and personal reflections, the influential art critic Jed Perl reconstructs the amazing story of this pioneering bohemian artist who, although he died in 1721, when he was only thirty-six, has influenced innumerable painters and writers in the centuries since—and whose work continues to deepen our understanding of the place that love, friendship, and pleasure have in our daily lives.

Perl creates an astonishing experience by gathering his reflections on this “master of silken surfaces and elusive emotions” in the form of an alphabet—a fairy tale for adults—giving us a new way to think about art. This brilliant collage of a book is a hunt for the treasure of Watteau’s life and vision that encompasses the glamour and intrigue of eighteenth-century Paris, the riotous history of Harlequin and Pierrot, and the work of such modern giants as Cézanne, Picasso, and Samuel Beckett.

By turns somber and beguiling, analytical and impressionistic, Antoine’s Alphabet reaffirms the contemporary relevance of the greatest of all painters of young love and imperishable dreams. It is a book to savor, to share, to return to again and again.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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Review: Antoine's Alphabet: Watteau and His World

User Review  - Sydney - Goodreads

Bought this book when it was mentioned in a writing workshop about collage writing. Interesting vignettes, less about the artist himself, more about how loving a particular artist affects how one sees ... Read full review

Review: Antoine's Alphabet: Watteau and His World

User Review  - Carol - Goodreads

Tried to read this for Museum of Art Book club, but could not get past page 50. Attempted to read it several different times to no avail. Made absolutely no sense to me... Can't wait to hear the discussion at book club--maybe that will help. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
17
Section 2
36
Section 3
77
Section 4
82
Section 5
89
Section 6
149
Section 7
161
Section 8
163
Section 9
172
Section 10
188
Section 11
194
Section 12
196
Section 13
203
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Jed Perl was born in New York and studied art history and painting at Columbia University. Since 1994 he has been the art critic at The New Republic. His books include Paris Without End, Eyewitness, and New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century. He lives in Manhattan.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information