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The Glamour of Strangeness : Artists and the Last Age of the Exotic


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Focusing on six principal subjects, Jamie James locates "a lost national school" of artists who left their homes for the unknown. There is Walter Spies, the devastatingly handsome gay German painter who remade his life in Bali from the 1920's onwards; Raden Saleh, the Javanese painter who found fame in Europe; Isabelle Eberhardt, a Russian-Swiss writer who roamed the Sahara dressed as an Arab man; the American experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, who went to Haiti and became a committed follower of voodoo. From France, Paul Gauguin left for Tahiti; and Victor Segalen, a naval doctor, poet, and novelist, immersed himself in classical Chinese civilization in imperial Peking.

In 'The Glamour of Strangeness', James evokes these extraordinary lives in portraits that bring the transcultural artist into sharp relief. Drawing on his own career as a travel writer and years of archival research uncovering previously unpublished letters and journals, James creates a penetrating study of the powerful connection between art and the exotic. Jamie James is the author of the gay novel 'Andrew and Joey' and the biography 'Rimbaud in Java', and has also contributed to numerous periodicals like The New York Times and National Geographic. He has also served as art critic at The New Yorker and The Times of London. He moved to Indonesia in 1999.

Author: Jamie James.

Hardback, 384 pp, Published October 2016.

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