Candid, breathless, arrogant, ambitious--here, in his own words, is Clement Greenberg, a young man of limitless intellectual appetite on his way to becoming the twentieth century's greatest art critic . Clement Greenberg was, and remains, America's most perceptive, prescient, and influential art critic. More alive than any of his contemporaries to the genius of art in his time, it was Greenberg who, in the 1940s and '50s, charted and celebrated the rise of Abstract Expressionism. The authority of his aesthetic judgment, and the force and clarity of his arguments, went far to establish those artists whose work he championed--Pollock, de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, David Smith. Before all that, however, he was a young man burning to become an intellectual, to make what he called Important Discoveries about art and life. His confidant during these early years was Harold Lazarus, a classmate at Syracuse University and a future professor of English. From 1928, when both were nineteen, until 1943, when they went their separate ways, the two exchanged honest, funny, deeply personal letters. Greenberg's side of the correspondence, here collected by his widow, Janice Van Horne, is the intellectual memoir Greenberg never wrote, the chronicle of a great tastemaker forming his own taste among the social, political, and cultural turbulence of the early twentieth century.
Clement Greenberg was born in the Bronx in 1909. His books include the groundbreaking Art & Culture, The Collected Essays and Criticism, 1939-1969, and monographs on Miro, Matisse, and Hans Hofmann. Home-made Esthetics, a collection of late essays, was published posthumously in 1999. He died in 1994, at the age of eighty-five. Clement Greenberg married Janice Van Horne, his second wife, in 1956. She is Greenberg's literary executor and the editor of Homemade Esthetics.