cover image Betty Parsons: Artist, Dealer, Collector

Betty Parsons: Artist, Dealer, Collector

Lee Hall. ABRAMS, $45 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-3712-3

The Betty Parsons Gallery, which opened its doors in Manhattan in 1946, quickly became the flagship of abstract expressionism, championing works by Rothko, Pollock et al. Its owner was a determined woman who had rebelled against her New York society family and had divorced a dictatorial husband to seek her fortune as an artist in 1920s and '30s Paris and Hollywood, where she had numerous lesbian affairs. With an eye for originality, Parsons (1900-1982) showcased Joseph Cornell, Barnett Newman and Saul Steinberg. She served as a muse in the ``he-man's macho game'' of abstract expressionism, all the while craving recognition as a painter and sculptor in her own right. (Regrettably, only one or two examples of her own work are shown here) Tennis partner of Greta Garbo, friend of Janet Flanner and Alexander Calder in Paris, Parsons led a charmed existence, and this richly illustrated biographical profile by a longtime friend captures her many-faceted, whirlwind life. (May)