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Fenton, James. LEONARDO'S NEPHEW: ESSAYS ON ART AND ARTISTS. London, England: Viking Press, 1998. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 284 pages. Fine/Fine.

Landmark collection of essays on subject. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with the American and all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents James Fenton's "Leonardo's Nephew". His "summing-up" volume on art and aesthetics. "This savory, erudite collection of essays makes a reader feel incomparably lucky, as if he or she is seated next to a learned, original, friendly fellow-traveler. James Fenton has a style that is both intimate and scholarly. It is always amusing and illuminating. It never cloys. The subjects of the 15 essays include Freud's collection of statuary, the remarks Renoir and Degas made at two parties in the same home (the artists, not on speaking terms, were invited on different nights), Jasper Johns's early life and his later use of the American flag in his paintings, and the eponymous subject, an immensely talented nephew of Leonardo da Vinci, whose work was oddly described by both Vasari and Picasso, and is unjustly neglected. Fenton's writing is most moving in the essays that take off from a chance thought or a bit of accidentally discovered history" (Peggy Moorman and our comments). A poet and an Oxford don who is also a restless world traveller, James Fenton is the modern intellectual par excellence. With this one collection, he joins such exalted and revered company as Robert Hughes and Andrew Graham-Dixon, who are not academic art critics belonging to a particular "school" and have an axe to grind. The art therefore always comes first and the writing is better than most academics could ever muster. "These essays educate, enlighten, surprise, and thrill, unfailingly" (The New York Times). An absolute "must-have" title for James Fenton collectors. This title is a late-modern classic. This is one of few copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing (complete number line beginning with 1) still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A scarce copy thus. Lavishly illustrated with art and photographic reproductions. One of the finest writers of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO ROBERT HUGHES, CALVIN TOMKINS AND ANDREW GRAHAM-DIXON TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0670879177. $30.00

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