Liberman, by Barbara Rose. New York: Abbeyville Press. 393 pp. $75.

Although one may at times differ with her conclusions, there can be no disagreement over the fact that Barbara Rose writes clearly and to the point - a fact very evident in her excellent and authoritative new book on Alexander Liberman.Such clarity is crucial in writing about so complex and multitalented an individual as this painter, sculptor, draftsman, printmaker, and photographer - who is also editorial director of all the Conde Nast publications. Liberman straddles both the creatively ideal and the creatively commercial aspects of our urban culture. He is a success at all he does. The fact that he isn't as well known as some of his contemporaries can probably be blamed on the multiplicity of his talents and on an austere public image. We tend to distrust creative versatility in the fine arts, and suspect artists who are philosophical and professionally detached.I recommend the book highly. It does its subject proud, and, in the process, has a great deal to say about the art of our century. The illustrations, especially those in color, are stunning. And those of Liberman's monumental sculptures represent some of the very best art photography I have ever seen.

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