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Portrait of Murdock Pemberton: The New Yorker's First Art Critic

Portrait of Murdock Pemberton: The New Yorker's First Art Critic

Portrait of Murdock Pemberton: The New Yorker's First Art Critic by Sally Pemberton.  Illustrated, 408 pages; hardcover. Enfield Publishing & Distribution Company, 2011.


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Sku No.:  20136007
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In 1925, no one in New York City was more surprised than Murdock Pemberton-a newspaper reporter, Broadway publicist, playwright, and poet with no formal training in art or connoisseurship-when an upstart magazine, the New Yorker, named him its first art critic. But the keen eye, adventurous taste, crusading spirit, and irreverent wit expressed in his columns soon made Murdock a conquering hero of the avant-garde.

Modernists as diverse as Arthur Dove, Georgia O'Keeffe, Isamu Noguchi, and Alexander Calder cherished Murdock's friendship and support; so did cutting-edge art dealers and pioneers of industrial design. Kansas-born Murdock took aim at narrow-mindedness and bigotry in every part of the United States.

The blunt, scrupulously muckraking journalism that delighted admirers from Greenwich Village studios to the Algonquin Round Table drew hisses from America's art establishment. Exposés of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, collector Andrew Mellon, and "plush-hung" commercial galleries-for the New Yorker and other national publications-thrust Murdock into the limelight as a David among the philistines, his favorite role.

After discovering Murdock's archives in 2009, his granddaugther Sally, through exhaustive detective work and original research, produced this lavishly illustrated "scrapbook." Sleuthing in auction-house records, the archives of defunct galleries, and artists' estates enabled her to re-create much of Murdock's "lost" collection. She has also assembled an invaluable compendium of his writings and those of his contemporaries, many of which have never before appeared in print, providing a fresh, behind-the-scenes look at modernism's formative years. More than an intimate portrait of one man, this book is a captivating retrospective of the period he helped to shape.

 

 

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