Memoir of a Modernist's Daughter

Eleanor C. Munro, Author Viking Books $18.95 (271p) ISBN 978-0-670-81605-7
Art critic Munro (Originals: American Women Artists) grew up in the shadow of her free-thinking yet authoritarian father. Educator, atheist, museum curator and protege of John Dewey, this overconfident paterfamilias preached modernism and pragmatism while he kept wife and daughter meekly submissive. The author was raised in genteel poverty in Cleveland in a home full of phallic African sculpture, esoteric books, French romantic music. Her first marriage to an art critic who, like her father, demanded female compliance recapitulated the dynamics of her childhood. This painfully candid autobiography follows Munro from her postwar years in Paris to her tenure as editor of Art News in the 1950s; the crosscurrents of experimental theater, the women's movement and abstract expressionism helped her blossom. The author walks an emotional tightrope in a memoir tinged with unspoken grief; she emerges shaky but whole, her journey of self-discovery a balancing act of self-preservation. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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