Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2005.
Willem de Kooning is one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, a true “painter’s painter” whose protean work continues to inspire many artists. In the thirties and forties, along with Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock, he became a key figure in the revolutionary American movement of abstract expressionism. Of all the painters in that group, he worked the longest and was the most prolific, creating powerful, startling images well into the 1980s.
The first major biography of de Kooning captures both the life and work of this complex, romantic figure in American culture. Ten years in the making, and based on previously unseen letters and documents as well as on hundreds of interviews, this is a fresh, richly detailed, and masterful portrait. The young de Kooning overcame an unstable, impoverished, and often violent early family life to enter the Academie in Rotterdam, where he learned both classic art and gild techniques. Arriving in New York as…[more]
In the century and a half since Audubon’s death, his name has become synonymous with wildlife conservation and natural history. But few people know what a complicated figure he was—or the dramatic story behind The Birds of America.
Before Audubon, ornithological illustrations depicted scaled-down birds perched in static poses. Wheeling beneath storm-wracked skies or ripping flesh from freshly killed prey, Audubon’s life-size birds looked as if they might fly screeching off the page. The wildness in the images matched the untamed spirit in Audubon—a self-taught painter and self-anointed aristocrat who, with his buckskins and long hair, wanted to be seen as both a hardened frontiersman and a cultured man of science.
In truth, neither his friends nor his detractors ever knew exactly who Audubon was or where he came from. Tormented by a fog of ambiguities surrounding his birth, he reinvented himself ceaselessly, creating a life as dramatic as his fictionalizations…[more]
A young man from the provinces—a man without wealth, connections, or university education—moves to London. In a remarkably short time he becomes the greatest playwright not just of his age but of all time. His works appeal to urban sophisticates and first-time theatergoers; he turns politics into poetry; he recklessly mingles vulgar clowning and philosophical subtlety. How is such an achievement to be explained?
Will in the World interweaves a searching account of Elizabethan England with a vivid narrative of the playwright’s life. We see Shakespeare learning his craft, starting a family, and forging a career for himself in the wildly competitive London theater world, while at the same time grappling with dangerous religious and political forces that took less-agile figures to the scaffold. Above all, we never lose sight of the great works—A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth,…[more]