Pollock’s biography is a lively and engaging examination of Edith Gregor Halpert’s role in the American art movement. Her exhaustive treatment of Halpert’s life and work never grows tedious, and the book remains interesting and accessible to the lay reader throughout. Pollock focuses on Halpert’s major achievement, the establishment of the Downtown Gallery, one of the first galleries for modern American art in Greenwich Village. She describes her subject’s entrance into the art world in New York, deftly exploring how financial uncertainty, which followed Halpert’s family from Odessa to New York, made a lifelong impression on the young woman.
Pollock’s skillful storytelling integrates ordinary details from Halpert’s life into the larger picture of art history, humanizing her historical research with amusing but relevant anecdotes that feature some of the best-known figures in American art. Indeed, as an art dealer, Halpert represented Jacob Laurence, Stuart Davis, Georgia O’Keefe, and Arthur Dove at a time when modern American art was only beginning to be valued by collectors and museums.
The Girl with the Gallery will engage anyone interested in modern American art, the Jewish immigrant experience in New York City, or Jewish women in America. Bibliography, credits, index, notes, photography.