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William Rubin (1927-2006) taught at Sarah Lawrence College and NYU before joining MoMA in 1976 as curator. He was director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture from 1973- 1988, an editor for Art International, and a collector of contemporary art including works by the Abstract Impressionists and Frank Stella. His major exhibitions for MoMA include Picasso: A Retrospective (1980), Primitivism in 20th Century Art (1984), and Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism (1989).

A Curatorís Quest

Building the Museum of Modern Artís Painting and Sculpture Collection

Wiliam Rubin

A brilliant curator, critic, collector, and teacher, William Rubin was tenacious, energetic, and extraordinarily successful at acquiring masterpieces of modern painting and sculpture and mounting such exhibitions as the fabled ‘Picasso: A Retrospective’ during his tenure as Head of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA. This memoir, magnificently illustrated with colour plates of nearly 250 of Rubin’s most famous acquisitions, is a testament to that achievement.

From Cezanne, Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse, to Pollock, de Kooning and Rothko, the range and depth of the works made an undeniable impact on the Museum and the world of modern art itself. Alongside the images is Rubin’s memoir of his life as a collector and curator, his apprenticeship under Alfred Barr, the organizing of MoMA’s groundbreaking exhibitions, the acquisitions of such masterpieces as Picasso’s ‘Guitar’ and Jackson Pollock’s ‘One’ and his relationships with top collectors Sidney Janis and Ronald Lauder. The book concludes with his erudite art history lectures presented at Sotheby’s in 1997-8. For anyone interested in the history and world of modern art, in connoisseurship and collecting and in art scholarship, this book is truly an event and utterly indispensable.