Philip Guston – A Life Spent Painting: Book Review 2020

Nothing beats flipping through a beast of a book like this one: Philip Guston, A Life Spent Painting is a vast book documenting Guston’s art and life. The book contains over 900 images, displaying key works and many unpublished paintings and drawings. As a collection it really helps you build up a vivid image of his life, and how his style and outlook changed over the course of his lifetime.

The book is written by Robert Storr (preeminent art critic, artist, curator, and educator), who has been writing about Philip Guston for over three decades, so if you’re looking to learn more about Philip Guston, look no further.

The book documents Guston’s life, from his early social realist murals and paintings in the 30s and 40s to the Abstract Expressionist works of the 50s and early 60s. Finally, for me, things get really interesting in his later works of the late 60s and 70s where Guston develops a powerful new language of figurative painting. 

The thing that really strikes you as you flips through the pages is the vast range of styles Guston has adopted and created during his lifetime creating.

Philip Guston
Philip Guston - A Life Spent Painting
Philip Guston - A Life Spent Painting

“I’m a night painter, so when I come into the studio the next morning the delerium is over. I know I won’t remember in detail the feeling of the whole thing. I come into that studio very carefully. I creep in to see what happened the night before. And the feeling is one of ‘My God, did I do that?”

Philip Guston – A Life Spent Painting
Philip Guston - A Life Spent Painting
Philip Guston - A Life Spent Painting
Philip Guston - A Life Spent Painting

Thanks to Laurence King for providing a copy of ‘Philip Guston – A Life Spent Painting’ for this review.

A Life Spent Painting will be available from the 14 September 2020 through Laurence King.

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