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The Loft Generation

From the de Koonings to Twombly: Portraits and Sketches, 1942-2011

Edith Schloss; Edited by Mary Venturini

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Loft Generation Download image

ISBN10: 0374190089
ISBN13: 9780374190088


336 Pages



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The Loft Generation: From the de Koonings to Twombly is a firsthand account by an artist at the center of a landmark era in American art. Edith Schloss writes about the artists, poets, and musicians who were part of the postwar art movements in America and about her life as an artist in America and later in Italy, where she continued to paint and write until her death.

Schloss was born in Germany and moved to New York City during World War II. She became part of a thriving community of artists and intellectuals, from Elaine and Willem de Kooning and Larry Rivers to John Cage and Frank O’Hara. She married the photographer and filmmaker Rudy Burckhardt. She was both a working artist and an incisive art critic, and was a candid and gimlet-eyed observer of the close-knit community that was redefining American art. In later life she lived in Italy and spent time with artists such as Giorgio Morandi, Cy Twombly, Meret Oppenheim, and Francesca Woodman.

In The Loft Generation, Schloss creates a rare and irreplaceable up-close record of an era of artistic innovation and the colorful characters who made it happen. There is no other book like it. Her firsthand information is indispensable reading for all critics and researchers of that vital period in American art.


Praise for The Loft Generation

“If you are even remotely interested in the idea of what it is to make a life from your art, Edith Schloss’s diaristic account of New York City’s post-war bohemia is indispensable reading . . . [The Loft Generation] is remarkable and engrossing.”—Jonny Diamond, LitHub

"I am tempted to say Edith Schloss’s Loft Generation is remarkable, but remarkable seems inadequate to describe it. Schloss’s memoir of life in New York during the heyday of the Abstract Expressionist movement and her subsequent expat years in Italy is wise, witty, and wild in equal measures. Writing from the position of the ultimate insider about a world that we are only beginning to understand and fully appreciate, she introduces readers to the artists and writers and composers who became part of her lifeWillem and Elaine de Kooning, Rudy Burckhardt, Edwin Denby, Paul and Jane Bowles, John Cage, Frank O’Hara, among many, many others. And she describes the romance that is the life of the artist, despite poverty, monstrous political and social turmoil, and changing artistic fortunes. By the end of her story, which is so intimate and so true, we are left feeling as though we are part of that world, too. Quite simply, Schloss transports us, and that is the most any writer can hope to do. No, remarkable does not begin to describe her memoir. The Loft Generation is superb."—Mary Gabriel, author of Ninth Street Women, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement that Changed Modern Art

“This indispensable eyewitnessing of a crucial period in American culture is wonderfully alive, entertaining, and beautifully written, with a dazzling mix of the personal and the aesthetic. Warmly honest, perceptive, and humane, Edith Schloss’s memoir is itself a work of art.”—Phillip Lopate, author of The Art of the Personal Essay

"Shrewdly observant, Schloss conveys in painterly prose the spirited individuals whose lives she shared and the worlds they inhabited . . . A captivating memoir of a life in art."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Zestily precise and deeply knowledgeable . . . With preternatural recall, a discerning eye, keen ear, and hard-won insights, Schloss shares spirited, funny, wry and poignant tales . . . Intrepid, attentive, judicious, and radiantly expressive, Schloss presents an exhilarating perspective on a salient chapter in art history.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

“Schloss brilliantly conveys her experiences . . . Thoughtfully edited by Venturini, [The Loft Generation] combines Schloss’s personal memoir with her art criticism to provide a riveting firsthand account of the daily lives, complex social interactions, and marital spats of artists . . . Rich in granular detail and rendered in eloquent and captivating prose, this is an intimate look at a pivotal era in its formative stages and offers an invaluable source for the study of one of the great art movements.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



One fine summer afternoon in 1961, the artist and writer Edith Schloss sets out alone, without appointment or introduction, on a pilgrimage to visit the painter Giorgio Morandi in the mountain village...

About the author

Edith Schloss; Edited by Mary Venturini

Edith Schloss (1919–2011) was an observant member of the abstract expressionist movement and the New York School. She created paintings, assemblages, collages, watercolors, and drawings and worked as an art critic and writer until her death. Her paintings were shown in galleries all over the world and are in many prominent collections, and her writing has appeared in ARTNews, the International Herald Tribune, Art in America, and many other publications.

Mary Venturini
was Edith Schloss’s editor for more than twenty years at Wanted in Rome, a magazine for expats in Rome that she cofounded in 1985.

Silvia Stucky

Edith Schloss

Official Links

Mary Venturini