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‘I am not dead’

Christopher Prendergast: H.C. Andersen, 8 March 2001

Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller 
by Jackie Wullschlager.
Allen Lane, 506 pp., £20, November 2000, 0 7139 9325 1
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... Can it be, as Jackie Wullschlager maintains, that in the 1840s and 1850s Hans Christian Andersen was ‘the most famous writer in Europe’, and that ‘two centuries after his birth Andersen is still not appreciated as the world-class author that he undoubtedly was, as representative of the European Romantic spirit as Balzac or Victor Hugo’? These are grand claims and, if they’re true, we might well use this lively and informative biography to acquaint ourselves further with Andersen’s life and work ...

Bohemian in Vitebsk

J. Hoberman: Red Chagall, 9 April 2009

Chagall: Love and Exile 
by Jackie Wullschlager.
Allen Lane, 582 pp., £30, October 2008, 978 0 7139 9652 4
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... Chagall himself floated above some of 20th-century Europe’s greatest catastrophes, as Jackie Wullschlager details in a massive biography that gracefully integrates a tremendous amount of historical material and deals most tactfully with her subject’s personal failings. But did Chagall really belong ‘among the very great artists of our ...

Painting is terribly difficult

Julian Barnes: Myths about Monet, 14 December 2023

Monet: The Restless Vision 
by Jackie Wullschläger.
Allen Lane, 545 pp., £35, October 2023, 978 0 241 18830 9
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... and delighted in playing them off one against the other. There is no direct evidence of graft in Jackie Wullschläger’s new book, but all the conditions for Hughes’s ‘ethical slide area’ were now in place. It can seem as though Monet has always been around. In my teens I had a poster of one of his greyer Rouen Cathedral pictures on my bedroom ...

At the Guggenheim Bilbao

John-Paul Stonard: Marc Chagall, 19 July 2018

... captured the ‘very last days [of] small-town, pre-revolutionary Jewish-Russian existence’, as Jackie Wullschlager puts it in her indispensable biography of Chagall.* Four large portraits of destitute old Jews dressed as rabbis are among his best paintings from the period (they have been brought together for the first time in Bilbao). The dark green face ...

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