I was so excited when I stumbled upon this book in my local library; rarely do we get a glimpse into the creative worlds of artists - until they're dead and their studio becomes a museum, for example.
As an artist myself, I found the photographs both beautiful and extremely insightful. Even so, I finished the book feeling disappointed and somewhat cheated. The text was not only poorly written, but the content of it had nothing to do with the artists' studios. Instead, the author used the few introductory paragraphs before each featured artist as a way to name drop and tell us when and how and why he met this or that artist. It was almost too difficult for me to read - here I was looking at these beautiful -and rare- photographs of intimate spaces where some of the greatest minds of the 20th century created what will be their lasting contribution to society, and the text said nothing about them. I would have loved to read more about what it was actually like to be in these spaces - what was surprising, exciting, disturbing, etc about them. It would have given much more meaning to the book as a whole.
I've talked to many buyers of art who believe that if they were to be invited into famous artists' studios, they would be seeing something straight out of the pages of "Architectural Digest." You know, natural wood, soaring spaces, immaculate wood floors, pristine white walls to be hung with dazzling works of art, views of the sea or equivalent and so forth. Nothing could be further from the truth and this book captures that. Although these artists could all afford the best space, their space is as utilitarian as I would expect it to be. The spaces are stark, undecorated, with bare floors, often with paint splattered on them or even gouged. They do have high ceilings but because it makes it better to view and move around their work which is scattered all over the studio. Their tables are utilitarian and used with maybe one chair to sit in; ditto their paint containers and tools. The "view" is what is inside the studio itself as they are in there to look at their own work. Staring at the work can be an important part of the process. The walls are kept light and are simply painted white or even in need of a paint job. Probably over 90% of all artists worldwide could show you space that looked much the same, located in their basements, garages or barns. I don't really see why any artist needs to buy this book but if you have some romantic illusion about artists' studios, and some people do, this book will straighten you out fast!