In this episode, curator Scott Allan discusses two artist biographies: one of Édouard Manet by author and art critic Émile Zola and the other of Vincent van Gogh written by his sister in law Jo van Gogh-Bonger. Both artists proved controversial or difficult during their lifetimes, and these accounts, written by people who knew them well, provide insight into their lives and their art. These texts have recently been published as short books as part of the Getty Publications Lives of the Artists series. Scott Allan is curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
In 1902, Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke visited sculptor August Rodin in Paris to write an essay on the artist for a new series of German monographs. Writing with his usual intensity, Rilke’s poetic language and passion for Rodin’s art make this an engaging account of the artist’s life and work. Curator Anne-Lise Desmas discusses this text and Rodin’s career, addressing the personal relationship between the two men, Rodin’s unusual artistic process, and the reception of Rodin’s art in his time. Rilke’s 1902 essay has recently been published in a short book as part of the Getty Publications Lives of the Artists series. Anne-Lise Desmas is senior curator of sculpture and decorative arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.