Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Best Book of 2013 So Far: Bernard's Pick

Bernard Bonnet is the buyer at the Museum of Fine Art Houston, and we love him to death. When you sit down to sell, and I mean every time, even after years, it's an education about art (and sometimes politics). Also: he's French. In France one can major in bookselling. France is the most civilized country in the world for this reason. It's also extraordinarily difficult to walk out of his store without buying something; he carries everything from exhibition work to general art books, to some of the most gorgeous cookbooks I've ever seen. He also carries a few collectibles, and you can check the store out here.

Here is Bernard's pick for best book of 2013 so far:

Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas

In the early 90’s, I discovered Eric Fischl and since then, I have tracked down all the exhibition catalogues and monographs on his work. The first monograph, written by Peter Schjeldahl and published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang in 1988, was already out of print. I wanted this book badly. The rare copies I found in Paris where I was living at that time, were either too expensive or in a poor condition. I started to become obsessed with it. The book was always in my mind when I was visiting used book stores, flea markets or even general bookstores with a decent art section. At that time, before Internet, it was not very easy to find a book like that… It was my Grail. It took ten years to find my copy, in … Denton, Texas, and in a perfect shape, for nothing.

I met Fischl twice at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston … and now you know that, you can guess that, not only I have all his books but they are all signed… I am a happy fan and collector. What was going to happen next? This is the question every collector asks when he/she sees the end of the search, of the acquisitions, the end of the excitement. There is always a sort of dismay, emptiness … For my Fischl collection, the answer arrived on a routine appointment with my beloved Random House rep … Undreamed surprise: Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas by Eric Fischl was featured in the Spring 2013 catalogue … My wow was probably very loud [Actually, he squealed. It was delightful.]… I did not know he was writing his autobiography (sort of). I did not know Eric Fischl wanted to give me more than I had already, wanted to become my intimate friend.

Mr. Fischl on the left, our handsome friend Bernard on right 

I have just received the book. I have opened it, read the very funny and smart first chapter … and I have closed it. I have time to go farther since we are going on vacation together: Bad Boy is on the top of my stack. I’m so excited, impatient and at the same time already sad because I know I will finish it quickly… and I don’t want to finish it because after that, what?

I don’t know if Bad Boy is the best book of 2013, but it is my book, the book that had already its place in my library and therefore in my heart. So, of course, this is the best book of the year.

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