In recent weeks, Abbeville Press has attended two release parties in honor of one of our most stylish fall titles: Travels With Van Gogh and the Impressionists: Discovering the Connections, by Lin Arison and Neil Folberg. The first fête took place at Rizzoli Bookstore and featured short talks by author Arison and photographer Folberg about their unique collaborative effort: a combination memoir, travelogue, biography, art history study, photo essay, and cookbook (OK, not the last one). Guests enjoyed fine wine and conversation under the smoldering gaze of Lucie Rouart, the Van Gogh cover girl and descendant of Impressionist artist Berthe Morisot. (Rumor has it that one Abbevillian has a slight crush on Lucie, based solely on her photo, but even if that were true, which it isn’t, it would only be because she is a woman of consummate style.)
The second event took place at Christie’s auction house amidst a stunning collection of Impressionist and Modernist paintings, as well as a panoply of goat cheese canapés served on trays that Abbevillians tried hard not to tag along after like housepets. Arison and Folberg gave a more in-depth presentation about their book, and the art they discussed was as sumptuous as the lobster-and-bacon puffs, which provided the taste equivalent of a melting Monet sunrise.
1.1. Impressionism is radical again. Arison and Folberg’s book has brought the movement bursting back to life, recapturing the freshness and daring of the work of Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, and Morisot, not to mention their early Modernist contemporary, Van Gogh. Arison’s text is carefully researched yet personal, illuminating the artists, their paintings, and their effect on her own life, while Folberg’s photographs, juxtaposed with Impressionist originals, ingeniously reinterpret the masters’ paintings in a contemporary spirit. Together, they remind us that if Van Gogh and company were in today’s New York, they’d be lurking around the Williamsburg fringe, bumming cigarettes and turning the art world on its (severed) ear.
1.2. When taking your fifth goat cheese canapé from a server’s tray, it is not necessary to laugh nervously and explain to the server how much you love goat cheese. She already knows.