Rachel Cohen

Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade



Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade was published by the Yale University Press Jewish Lives Series on October 22, 2013.  The press describes the book: "This brilliant new biography of the leading art connoisseur of the Gilded Age explores his accomplishments, his painful disappointments, the historical forces that affected his life, and the women who were central to his achievements."


"The most dynamic biography yet of the groundbreaking art historian Bernard Berenson.... Cohen investigates Berenson’s contradictions, metamorphoses, and dramatically unconventional life with vivacious authority....Deftly channels the sweeping intensity of Berenson’s aesthetic ecstasy, hard-won expertise, surprising adventures, and vital legacy as a guide to appreciating art via 'exhilarated looking.'" -- Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review.

“Written with intelligence and understanding and often with impressive psychological insight…A thoughtful, short biography.”—Walter Kaiser, New York Review of Books

"Cohen draws a psychological portrait of a man guided by passionate aesthetic ideals and tortured by the compromises in the world of commerce that he felt compelled to make.... If you live in an American city, there's a good chance that you can go to a museum today and see an exquisite Sienese Madonna, or a Venetian Holy Family, or a Florentine portrait. You have Berenson—and his collector-acolytes—to thank."  - Hugh Eakin, Wall Street Journal


“A highly sympathetic and graceful portrait of Bernard Berenson, the art connoisseur and dealer who remade himself into work of art, priced and priceless, which he protected, cultivated, and even at time bartered: Rachel Cohen's Bernard Berenson is an illuminating tale of this self-transformation, its successes and pitfalls, told with stalwart compassion.”—Brenda Wineapple

“An insightful, richly detailed account of Bernard Berenson’s brilliant transformation from an immigrant Jew and son of a tin peddler into a connoisseur of Italian Renaissance painting and a dealer in secret partnership with Joseph Duveen. With the keen gaze that Berenson brought to a picture, Rachel Cohen analyzes his high-wire act of self-invention against the glittering, aristocratic, anti-Semitic world of art collecting.”—Cynthia Saltzman

To buy the book at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Bernard-Berenson-Picture-Trade-Jewish/dp/0300149425

To buy the book at Powell's: http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780300149425