Art Historian & Best-Selling Author
Gijs van Hensbergen
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Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon
Of all the great paintings in the world, Picasso's Guernica has had a more direct impact on our consciousness than perhaps any other. In this absorbing and revealing book, Gijs van Hensbergen tells the story of this masterpiece. Starting with its origin in the destruction of the Basque town of Gernika in the Spanish Civil War, the painting is then used as a weapon in the propaganda battle against Fascism. Later it becomes the nucleus of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the detonator for the Big Bang of Abstract Expressionism in the late 1940s. This tale of passion and politics shows the transformation of this work of art into an icon of many meanings, up to its long contested but eventually triumphant return to Spain in 1981.
The first critical biography of one of the twentieth century’s greatest architects. At the time of his death in 1926, Antoni Gaudi was arguably the most famous architect in the world. He had created some of the greatest and most controversial masterpieces of modern architecture, that were as exotic as they were outrageous. A precurser to the other great Catalan artists Picasso, Dali and Bunuel, Gaudi created dramatically original and daring art that was to surpass and reinvent all that had gone before.
Gijs van Hensbergen’s book is a masterly biography, capturing both the power and importance of Gaudi’s work and the unique spirit of Catalan culture. In life and in death, Gaudi lived by extravagant gestures and a creativity that bordered on madness. Even his legendary death under a tram as he stepped back to admire his cathedral in Barcelona has the hint of absurdity and poetry. Today, Gaudi has become an icon of artistic integrity and genius, for religious piety and for unstinting love for his homeland, Catalonia.
In the Kitchens of Castile
Art critic Gijs van Hensbergen had long dreamed of mastering Castilian cuisine - the least known and most delicious in Europe, with its suckling pigs and milk - fed lambs, and its extraordinary variety of seafood. He left England and travelled to Segovia, the oldest and most beautiful city in Castile, with the idea of apprenticing himself to one of the major restaurants there. Soon he was working for 12 hours a day, in temperatures of over a hundred, but rapidly learning the traditions, not only of Castilian kitchens, but also of the architecture, the literature, even the agriculture of the region. He absorbed himself in the Castilian way of life and describes it here most vividly. He writes of wild boar hunts, auctions conducted over church altars, 20 course banquets and the most exclusive wine grape in the world.
A Guide to Art Deco Style
Arie van de Lemme, the pseudonym of Gijs van Hensbergen, is a passionate collector of Art Deco. This fascinating journey through one of the first great international design styles is as much about art and design, as it is about history and changing fashions. From flappers to Bakelite, from ocean liners to carved onyx, A Guide to Art Deco Style reveals this 20th century styles' universal appeal.
The Encyclopedia of Decorative Styles 1850-1955