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Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli
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Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  102 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Leo Castelli reigned for decades as America’s most influential art dealer. Now Annie Cohen-Solal, author of the hugely acclaimed Sartre: A Life (“an intimate portrait of the man that possesses all the detail and resonance of fiction”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times), recounts his incalculably influential and astonishing life in Leo and His Circle.

After emigrating to
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published May 18th 2010 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2009)
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Tommy Bat-Blog Brookshire
Leo Castelli had a very long successful career as an Art Dealer for many decades and also played an important part in American Art History. His list of Artists he represented are pretty impressive: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, etc.... almost all the major Pop Artists! Later, in the 70's, he handled some of the difficult Minimalists like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, etc.

OK, I wanted to read this book for awhile because I've always been a Fan of L
Jonathan Lopez
Apr 16, 2010 Jonathan Lopez rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-york, art-history, art
From the mid-1950s until his death in 1999, Leo Castelli, the renowned New York gallery owner who discovered and promoted such now-famous artists as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein, exerted a profound and transformative influence on the aesthetic tastes and commercial practices of the contemporary art world. A beneficiary and instigator of American art’s postwar emergence on the international stage, this Italian-born impresario, with his perceptive eyes and enviably bespo ...more
Aug 25, 2010 Scott rated it it was amazing
I stole this from Emily and read it on vacation in Los Angeles. Great poolside reading prose. Of course, I read it from a painter's perspective, and it is actually instructive--and a cautionary tale--for those who wish to be involved in the gallery/dealer system. I enjoyed the last half of the biography where we see Castelli--after sixteen years in NYC developing his aesthetic, persona, connections to artists, gallerists, collectors, et al--burst onto the NYC art world with his Jasper Johns show ...more
May 24, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
Annie Cohen-Solal writes a biography of the great gallery owner and luminary of the modern art world, Leo Castelli. The book, at 450 pages,is long and detailed but parts of it fascinated me.

Leo Castelli,born Leo Kurtz, with a Hungarian father and an Italian mother,grew up in Trieste, at the beginning of the 20th century. The first 100 pages are not about art, but rather about the history of the Italy and Austria, and his escape from the Nazi's. The rest the of the book covers his development as
Jun 16, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it
I didn't know much about Castelli before I read this book. I loved the details about Castelli's galleries in NYC and how he played a major role in the careers of artists such as Robert Rauschenburg, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Warhol, Judd, Serra, etc. The list goes on. I also liked the connections with current gallerists and delaers, such as Dietch and Larry Gagosian. Much of the book was on Castelli's life, and his family history, in Europe. I think this was more interesting to the author ...more
Apr 26, 2014 Stacey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A LOT of background to get through that is probably important if a work is to qualify as a biography. But day'um, it's dull. And it took up most of the first third of the book, which I believe is too much to expect of a reader. After that, though, you get a lot of information about artists those of us who make art will find interesting. Informative without being gossipy or dishy, mercifully! One thing, I figured it out myself, for obvious reasons, but if you're going to call a book about a famou ...more
Ximena Apisdorf
Los primeros capítulos delo libro, que hablan sobre los antecesores del galletita Leo Castelli resulta en demasiada información, que al parecer por el tiempo de investigación que le tomó a la autora lo mete casi a calzador dentro de la narrativa, que en la última parte del libro se queda demasiado corta, después de toda la precisión con la que desarrolla ciertos temas.
Da por sentada mucha información, que el lector ya debería de conocer, por lo que no es un libro sencillo para alguien que no se
Jan 31, 2016 Irwin rated it really liked it
Though a bit long (especially the early years) an illuminating portrait of the premier gallerist of the 20th century. His foresight in embracing American Art at a time when it was still about the Europeans speak to that. Raushenberg, Johns and Lichtenstein:they made him as much as he made them. (or did they)? His plunge into Soho led the way for revitalizing an area that Robert Moses saw as nothing but a highway site. Though an effort at times, worth it.
Jun 27, 2010 Bill rated it liked it
At first I was daunted by the size of this book about an art dealer. The tome seemed more appropriate for a major artist. As I began to read the book, the flow of the work captivated me and made all the details worthwhile. In fact I liked the first half of the book before Castelli became an art dealer far better than the second half which, unless you are interested in brand name artists, is predictable. That is why I gave it three stars instead of five stars.
Jun 14, 2010 Stash rated it it was ok
A good look into the art world via the dealer who "discovered" Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and many others. However, it is focused a bit too much on him (I know its a biography of him but I would have liked to have "seen" more). It was also a bit to deifying of the man as well; we hardly see any flaws or faults of the man. I think that this book is also unlikely to be of interest to the casual reader.
Sep 16, 2010 Joseph rated it really liked it
I have difficulty reading biographies and this was no exception. Cohen-Solal provides important but tedious family background and historic context. Castelli led a remarkable life and his impact on the progression of modern American art is beyond compare. So, while it was a tough read I'm glad I tackled this one. I borrowed this from the New York Public Library but may purchase a good quality, used hardbound for my permanent collection.
Jul 09, 2010 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction-art
Though the first section of the book, which tracked the Castelli and Krausz family to their roots in the hill towns of Italy and the Ottoman Empire, was a bit slow going at first, Cohen-Solal's bio of Castelli was in the end difficult to put down. As the bio makes clear, it is almost impossible to separate Castelli from the trajectory of the art world / market in 20th century America.
Apr 13, 2011 Ellie added it
Dry and rambling on and on - couldn't get into it and put it down after 1/4 of the way through. Maybe I'll pick it up again, since despite the book itself, I find Leo Castelli to be an interesting character.
Aug 05, 2010 Meredith rated it liked it
A fascinating look into Leo Castelli's life as an Tuscan Jew from Trieste going all the way back to his ancestors in the 17th century in Tuscany. A thick read that requires, perhaps, purchasing the book. 2 weeks is not long enough to read it from the library.
Aug 16, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Very detailed and lots of history. Written well but know that it is 463 pages. I preferred the second part that was more about the gallery life and artists than the beginning which was Leo's history. However, it was interesting to see where he came from.
Jessica Thomson
Mar 01, 2011 Jessica Thomson rated it really liked it
Although it took about 75 pages to get to the point where Castelli became an art dealer, once it got going in that direction, I really enjoyed it and learned a great deal.
Gretchen Kodanaz
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Jun 21, 2010
Susan Crowe
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Oct 07, 2015
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May 31, 2012
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Annie Cohen-Solal is an academic and writer. For ever, she has been tracking down interactions between art, literature and society with an intercultural twist. After Sartre : A Life (1987) became an international success, she became French cultural counselor in the US, where she held her position from 1989 to 1992.
In New York, Cohen-Solal’s encounter with Leo Castelli led her to shift her interest
More about Annie Cohen-Solal...

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