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The William Fifield Collection

In Search of Genius

Cover of In Search of Genius

About the book

Index of artists



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From the jacket copy:

"This is a book about the makers of dreams. They have a common sign by which they may be known: they do nothing which need be done at all. Yet, in an age in which one can believe in nothing at all, they provide magic."

—From the Foreword

In Search of Genius is an attempt to understand the nature of that magic, to find its roots, and to examine its creative catalyst. This is a self-defining book. Here, magicians, men around whom we structure the word "genius" itself, men whose minds have helped shape the genius of this century, men like Picasso, Cocteau, Chagall, Dalí, and Marceau, reveal and define the genius that moves them.

More than a collection of conversations, this is an investigation of creativity—an investigation conducted by the investigated. Over the course of twelve years (beginning in the early 1960s), William Fifield spoke with each of these men about his specific artistic processes and about the nature of creation. Conversation, commentary, structure, and transition mesh imperceptibly, highlighting the supernatural reality of art, touched by warm personal insight.

This is a montage from which emerges the force of genius. Fifield clarifies incisively without seeming to intrude; he organizes these artistic reverberations until they chime clearly, in harmony; and, as he penetrates the mask of personality, he creates an atmosphere of accessibility and imparts a sense of intimacy.

There is an aura surrounding these men and their names. In Search of Genius examines the aesthetic adventures of its subjects, seeking to understand and tap the spirit of curiosity and inquiry that lives in them.

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