Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1991.
Harold Le Clair Ickes made his first reputation as a newsman in Chicago’s gilded era. He made his second as a mover and shaker in the Progressive Party. And he made his third as our longest-serving and most influential Interior Secretary and one of the most volatile of FDR’s New Dealers. Now Watkins brings to life this prototypical American.
Benedict Arnold should have died in battle. For the first half of the American Revolution, he fought brilliant and successful campaigns. He built an American fleet on Lake Champlain, repulsed the British at Valcour Island, won the battle of Saratoga and nearly succeeded in making Canada the 14th state. So why did he turn coat?
Motives are difficult, but there was something almost too ambitious about Arnold. Was he unstable? Overly ardent? Grandiose? Whatever the vice, it visited him fatally late in the war. In 1880 he sold himself and his secrets to the Brits. He got 6000 pounds, the contempt of his allies and a name that means “traitor” to this day.
From 1950 to 1962, the author lived near Picasso in France and was a friend of the artist. With a view to writing a biography, the art historian kept a diary of their meetings. After Picasso’s death, his widow Jacqueline collaborated in the preparation of this work, giving the author access to the artist’s studio and papers.
Volume one of this four volume biography establishes the complexity of Picasso’s Spanish roots; his aversion to his native Malaga and his passion for Barcelona and Catalan “modernisme”. The author introduces new material on the artist’s early training in religious art; re-examines old legends to provide fresh insights into the artistic failures of Picasso’s father as an impetus to his sons’s triumphs; and includes portraits of Apollinaire, Max Jacob and Gertrude Stein, who made up “The Picasso Gang” in Paris during the “Blue” and “Rose” periods.
Almost 24 years his junior, Georgia O’Keeffe became for Alfred Stieglitz a near icon of American art—as well as his wife. In a marvelous, multileveled biography, Benita Eisler traces the epic and stormy relationship of these incomparable artists, from their consuming ambition to their sexual experimentation.
“Riveting—Kusz’s gifts as a writer, her original voice and sparkling perceptions, give this memoir the literary precision of a novel.” —Los Angeles Times