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Departed Angels: The Lost Paintingsby Ed Adler
Synopses & Reviews
This first-ever collection of Jack Kerouac's visual art includes nearly every existing full-color painting collected and preserved by the Kerouac estate in Lowell, Massachusetts. Also included are dozens of black-and-white line drawings, sketches, and facsimile reproductions of Kerouac's notations from his unpublished notebooks. In writing, Kerouac's restless and relentless experimentation—what he called "spontaneous bop prosody"—pushed language to the boundaries of meaning. In painting and drawing he found a complementary means of expression. A friend and admirer of painters Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers, Franz Kline, and Dody Muller, Kerouac was an ardent and deliberate student who worked to develop and refine his skills and his conception of the act of painting—a conception related to the spontaneous composition he had pioneered in his books. Ed Adler's essay offers an unprecedented view of Kerouac, the visual artist. Rich in anecdote and drawing on extensive quotation from Kerouac's letters, notebooks, and published writings, Adler's essay demonstrates the biographical and thematic preoccupations common to Kerouac's writing and painting, especially Kerouac's struggle to integrate the two spiritual traditions, Catholicism and Buddhism, to which he was devoted. No consideration of Kerouac will be complete without reference to this heretofor- unseen aspect of his life and work.
"By starting right in with reproductions of the paintings and sketches that Kerouac began making in the late 1950s, a few years after the publication of On the Road, this book comes closer to his animus than the reams of posthumous text produced on him and the Beats generally. Heavily influenced by de Kooning and other New York School painters, the works themselves, long stored with family in Massachusetts and recently unearthed, are bright and spirited, if not transcendent. But viewed as a kind of record of Kerouac's continued, in-the-moment search for an ultimate form of expression, these depictions — of friends, popes, angels, street people, coffee cups, the Buddha — are quite moving. In this Kerouac estate — authorized production, New York University painter and scholar Adler presents 50 paintings in color and 50 sketchbook pages in b&w, thoughtfully laid out and captioned. Historian Douglas Brinkley offers an introduction, and Adler's 17 chapters of text, which make up the book's second half, detail Kerouac's method of and thoughts about artmaking; the interviews and research Adler has conducted pay off in descriptive thickness. The result is a book unique within the Kerouac industry, a real achievement indeed." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The first-ever collection of Jack Kerouac's visual art includes nearly every full-color painting collected and preserved by the Kerouac estate in Lowell, Mass. Also included are dozens of black-and-white line drawings, sketches, and facsimile reproductions of Kerouac's notations from his unpublished notebooks.
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