Anthony Bailey, biographer with restless literary spirit, dies at 87

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, June 24, 2024

Anthony Bailey, biographer with restless literary spirit, dies at 87
In an undated photo from Jessica (Bibby) Giesen, Anthony Bailey. Bailey was a longtime New Yorker magazine writer who wrote about Rembrandt, J. M. W. Turner and other artists. He died from the novel coronavirus on May 13, 2020, at 87. Jessica (Bibby) Giesen via The New York Times.

by Glenn Thrush

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Anthony Bailey’s mother packed her 7-year-old son off in 1940 for safekeeping to an American foster home, far from the German bombers pulverizing their dockside hometown Portsmouth, England.

Two weeks later, Bailey found himself in the Dayton, Ohio, mansion of Otto Spaeth, a wealthy factory owner, philanthropist and art collector who owned paintings by Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Edward Hopper and Paul Gauguin.

“It was imprinted on him, art, from that moment forward,” his daughter Annie Bailey said in an interview.

Bailey would go on to a prolific career as a staff writer for The New Yorker and as the author of 23 books on topics that spanned multiple continents and genres.

But those four years of enlightenment and dislocation inspired Bailey’s best-remembered projects — two memoirs of childhood chronicling his “divided loyalty” to both countries and biographies of artists, including Rembrandt, John Constable, J.M.W. Turner and “Vermeer: A View of Delft,” which shortlisted for the Whitbread biography prize in 2001.

Bailey died in Harwich, Essex, England on May 13 of the novel coronavirus, contracted in a recovery area following surgery to repair a broken hip, his daughter said. He was 87. He had been living on Mersea Island, near Colchester, at the time he suffered his fall, with his wife Margot, an artist.

Bailey was born Jan. 5, 1933, to Cowper Goldsmith Bailey, a bank manager, and Phyllis Molony, a homemaker, in Portsmouth.

He read history at Merton College, Oxford, served a tour in the West African Frontier Force in modern-day Ghana and bounced around in bookseller’s shops around London, before heading back to the United States, under Spaeth’s sponsorship, to embark on a writing career.

In the mid-1950s, after failing to find a job at a newspaper, Bailey sent a story about Ivan Ilyich, a young priest ministering to the poor in Harlem, to New Yorker editor William Shawn. Shawn responded with an offer to work on the Talk of the Town section, and an office next to a young John Updike, who would become one of his closest friends. He would remain on staff until 1992.

He wrote a book about his banged-up sailing yacht and, in the 1960s, a candid portrait of his then-hometown of Stonington, Connecticut. (“In the Village,” 1971). In the 1970s, he moved back to seaside England and, later, wrote accounts of walkabouts through Wales and the Outer Banks. He also wrote a novel based on the life of John Andre, a co-conspirator of Benedict Arnold. Over the past three decades, he focused on his artist biographies.

Bailey was, his friends recalled, a patient listener happily afflicted with a kind of literary restless-leg syndrome. He became known, even as a young writer, for taking long walks that often yielded friendships and story ideas. His writing style matched his gait, unhurried but purposeful.

“Tony was a very peripatetic guy,” said writer Paul Brodeur, who began his New Yorker career with Bailey. “He loved to walk and to meet people along the way. He had a wonderfully imaginative, descriptive style.”

A memorable 1980 interview in The New Yorker with Irish poet Seamus Heaney about the conflict in Northern Ireland took place on a stroll along the River Boyne. It began with a trip to the boot shop where Heaney made an unlikely purchase: a pair of bright white Dr. Martens.

“They would look all right, he thought, after he had stepped in a few cowpats,” Bailey wrote.

2020 The New York Times Company

Today's News

May 28, 2020

What do you do with a stolen van Gogh? This thief knows

Exhibition at Hauser & Wirth explores a concept that Maria Lassnig coined as 'body awareness'

Sotheby's to offer the first work of classical African art in any Contemporary Art Evening Sale this June

Paul Cadmus and His Circle: Property from the Estate of Jon F. Anderson achieves $1,163,055

Legendary Los Angeles artist Peter Alexander dies at age 81

Online auction spans Pablo Picasso's entire oeuvre

Rijksmuseum given unique painting to remember virus victims

A rare Chinese Red Revenue Stamp Collection hammers $170,195 on

Xavier Hufkens opens an exhibition of drawings by Pierre Guyotat

Will Cotton offers a new take on the myth of the cowboy in new exhibition at Galerie Templon

Sperone Westwater showcases a group of recent paintings and photographs by Rochelle Feinstein

'Shelter in Place' organized by Ryan Muller on view at Metro Pictures

France names first indigenous director of top museum

Anthony Bailey, biographer with restless literary spirit, dies at 87

Lehmann Maupin announes representation of Billie Zangewa

Reid Shier selected as curator for the Canada Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale

Baltimore Museum of Art launches initiatives to directly support local galleries, artists, & community

After rare silence, Istanbul's Grand Bazaar prepares to reopen

Chris Levine releases new portrait edition of the Dalai Lama through Jealous Gallery

Works by Drer, Hockney, and Warhol lead sales at IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair Online

Rare Northern Irish penny sets worldwide auction record at Dix Noonan Webb

The National Gallery extends 'Titian: Love, Desire, Death'

Larry Kramer, author and outspoken AIDS activist, dies at 84

MIT Press and New Museum to publish "Saturation: Race, Art, and the Circulation of Value" this June

How to Convert YouTube to mp3 in Corona times

Different Types of Olive Oils and Their Significance in Italian Cuisine

Yowhatsapp apk is the best android application

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful