cover image My Grandfather’s Gallery: A Family Memoir of Art and War

My Grandfather’s Gallery: A Family Memoir of Art and War

Anne Sinclair, trans. from the French by Shaun Whiteside. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-25162-8

In this splendid memoir, journalist Sinclair, director of the French Huffington Post, explores a chapter of her family history colored by Vichy France and Nazi theft. From his elegant gallery at 21 rue La Boétie, Sinclair’s grandfather, Paul Rosenberg, became an apostle of modern art, tactfully promoting work by Lauren­cin, Matisse, Braque, Léger, and Picasso. (In 1939, Rosenberg helped organize Picasso’s first American retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.) Forced to flee France for New York in 1940 (with assistance from MoMA director Alfred Barr), Rosenberg’s Paris gallery was overtaken by the Germans, its collection seized and dispersed, and the building converted into the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question. Drifting back and forth in time, Sinclair’s narrative presents a complex picture of a sharp-eyed, industrious, and melancholy man. Some of the most vivid moments are devoted to Rosenberg’s personal and professional relationship with Picasso. The agreement between the two provided “Pic” (as Rosenberg affectionately called him) security and support while he advanced beyond Cubism. Long reluctant to engage the Rosenberg story, Sinclair calls attention to the difficulties of searching out the past and of grappling with what is found there. [em]Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (Sept.) [/em]