The Unknown Masterpiece and Gambara

The Unknown Masterpiece and Gambara
Random House, Inc.
A New York Review Books Original

One of Honoré de Balzac's most celebrated tales, "The Unknown Masterpiece" is the story of a painter who, depending on one's perspective, is either an abject failure or a transcendental genius—or both. The story, which has served as an inspiration to artists as various as Cézanne, Henry James, Picasso, and New Wave director Jacques Rivette, is, in critic Dore Ashton's words, a "fable of modern art."

Published here in a new translation by poet Richard Howard, "The Unknown Masterpiece" appears, as Balzac intended, with "Gambara," a grotesque and tragic novella about a musician undone by his dreams.

Book News
Balzac's two tragic short stories about a painter, a composer and the nature of creativity are both beautifully translated here by Howard, a poet and translator, and introduced by the art critic Arthur Danto. The experience of the artist portrayed in the The Unknown Masterpiece so influenced Picasso he moved into the house at the address Balzac had given his fictional character in Paris; these stories may thus be usefully connected to the milieu of modern art in 19th-century France. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, c2001
ISBN: 0940322749
Branch Call Number: FIC B
Characteristics: xxvii, 135 p. ; 21 cm.
Alternate Title: Gambara


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The Unknown Masterpiece and Gambara
Balzac, Honoré de, 1799-1850
The Unknown Masterpiece and Gambara

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