Rebels on Eighth Street: Juliana Force and the Whitney Museum of American Art

Avis Berman, Author Atheneum Books $29.95 (572p) ISBN 978-0-689-12086-2
With Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Force founded Manhattan's Whitney Museum of American Art, and this astute portrait by art critic Berman is the first biography of a pivotal, if now obscure, art world figure. Born to a poor tradesman in 1876, Force had to make her own way, as did Whitney, a sculptor struggling against social restrictions to pursue her work. Force, hired as Whitney's secretary and manager shortly before WW I, became a legend for her aid to artists via Whitney funds and as principal author of the policies of the Whitney Museum, founded in 1931. The Whitney--devoted to modern American art, then a radical notion--survived a perilous youth during the Depression, competition from the Museum of Modern Art and takeover attempts by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Force died in 1948, with the Whitney's future still uncertain. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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