Blue Territory immerses the reader in the journey of abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell (1925-1992), from teenage figure skater to art student to female painter in a male-dominated art world to expat in Paris. And while all the ingredients of a strong biography are present—her formative years; her artistic influences; her methodologies; her friendships and lovers—Blue Territory is no mere biography. Blue Territory is itself a gallery of literary artwork—lovingly crafted images that form an artist’s study of Joan Mitchell.
Robin Lippincott’s work has always been strongly informed by his love of and keen observation of art. For ten years, he wrote reviews of art and photography books for The New York Times Book Review. His novel Our Arcadia—crafted like an impressionist painting with its short, deftly stroked chapters—portrayed the lives of a group of friends who set out to share their lives and essentially create a tiny artist’s colony called True House; “What’s important about life at True House is not necessarily birth and death, but art: painting, gardening and finding the Muse in between.” (—Publishers Weekly). Lippincott’s first novel, Mr. Dalloway, was an homage to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; Lippincott not only imagined a secret, untold life for the husband of Woolf’s protagonist, he told the story in a voice and style akin to Woolf’s. In Blue Territory, he brings this same keen observational acumen and artistic agility to the work and life of Joan Mitchell.
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