PRINT December 1999

Robert Rosenblum

1. The Revival of Portraiture
Once occupying the lowest rung of the modernist ladder, portraiture is again alive and well. Central to the ’90s (Close, Sherman, Ruff, Morimura), it has also reoriented our view with respect to the old masters. Within recent memory, shows of Degas, Renoir, Picasso, and Ingres have all focused on their sitters; and then there’s the rediscovery of high-society portraiture, ca. 1900, as witnessed by the success of the Sargent show, a virtual-reality trip out of Merchant Ivory.

2. Could Artists Be Human? Not only their sitters, but artists themselves are being freshly scrutinized as flesh-and-blood creatures who no longer reside on Olympus. Magisterial new biographies of Picasso (John Richardson) and Matisse (one by Hilary Spurling, another by John Russell) have tethered the deities to Planet Earth. With a wealth of new data, these page-turners send us back to

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