Finch, Christopher (Robin) 1939-
FINCH, Christopher (Robin) 1939-
PERSONAL: Born 1939, in England.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Abbeville Press, 116 W. 23rd St., Suite 500, New York, NY 10011.
CAREER: Writer. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, curator, 1968-69.
Pop Art: Object and Image, Studio Vista, 1968.
Image As Language: Aspects of British Art, 1950-1968, Penguin (New York, NY), 1968.
Patrick Caulfield (part of "Penguin New Art" series), Penguin (New York, NY), 1971.
The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms, with special essay by Peter Blake, Abrams (New York, NY), 1973, 2nd edition, 1975.
Rainbow: The Stormy Life of Judy Garland, designed by Will Hopkins, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 1975.
Norman Rockwell's America, Abrams (New York, NY), 1976.
(Author of introduction) Fifty Norman Rockwell Favorites, Crown (New York, NY), 1977.
Walt Disney's America, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1978.
(Author of introduction) 102 Favorite Paintings by Norman Rockwell, Crown (New York, NY), 1978.
(With Linda Rosenkrantz) Gone Hollywood: The Movie Colony in the Golden Age, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1979.
(Author of introduction) Norman Rockwell: 332 Magazine Covers, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1979.
Norman Rockwell, Artabras (New York, NY), 1979.
Of Muppets and Men: The Making of "The Muppet Show," Knopf (New York, NY), 1981.
The Making of "The Dark Crystal": Creating a Unique Film, Holt (New York, NY), 1983.
Special Effects: Creating Movie Magic, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1984.
American Watercolors, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1986.
Twentieth-Century Watercolors, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1988.
Beer: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Charles S. Finch) Highways to Heaven: The Auto Biography of America, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.
Jim Henson: The Works: The Art, the Magic, the Imagination, Random House (New York, NY), 1993.
(With W. Scott Griffiths) America's Best Beers, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.
The Art of the Lion King, foreword by James Earl Jones, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1994.
(With Scott Griffiths) Famous Chefs (and Other Characters) Cook with Beer, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Linda Rosenkrantz) Sotheby's Guide to Animation Art, Holt (New York, NY), 1998.
(As Christopher Robin Finch) Disney's Winnie the Pooh: A Celebration of the Silly Old Bear, Disney Editions (New York, NY), 2002.
In the Market: The Illustrated History of the Financial Markets, foreword by John M. Angelo, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: English art critic Christopher Finch has written a variety of books, choosing primarily as his focus the personalities, paintings, and films that have dominated American popular culture. The art of Norman Rockwell and Patrick Caulfield, figures such as Walt Disney and Judy Garland, and movies including The Dark Crystal have provided a wealth of visual material around which Finch inscribes textual frameworks. His love of fine art is incorporated into several art books and criticisms, including Image As Language: Aspects of British Art, 1950-1968, American Watercolors, and Twentieth-Century Watercolors. Finch is also the author of several books about beer, including Famous Chefs (and Other Characters) Cook with Beer, a cookbook reflecting yet another of his many enthusiasms.
American Watercolors is a historical survey of the art of watercolor painting, from the gouache tradition of Victorian artists, in which colors were used opaquely, through the development of the translucent technique that found its way across the Atlantic Ocean from England near the turn of the twentieth century. "Finch has chosen his examples well," noted Peter S. Prescott of Newsweek, commending the book for the historical perspective which it presents using the works of such artists as John Singer Sargent, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Winslow Homer, John Cheri Marin, Charles Ephraim Burchfield, and Charles Demuth.
Finch provides a colorful look at some of the most famous American animated characters in The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms. Designed as a pictorial history rather than a critical study, the book provides readers with an overview of the development of the Disney "style" that culminated not only in the many feature-length films produced by Walt Disney's studio, but also in the theme parks which bear his name and the imprint of his vision. Finch assembled a lavish collection of illustrations tracing the development of the style characteristic of Disney Studios, and of the many artists who contributed to it. "Like a visual Bumstead of a sandwich," commented critic R. O. Blechman in the New York Times Book Review, "packaged with the greatest care and lavishness (and yes, love!), the choices range from the banal to the exotic, from the unbearably sweet and the faintly moldy to the rich and meaty. It's all here." Blechman praised the visual aspects of The Art of Walt Disney but questioned the absence of a discussion of the philosophy and motivation underlying the creations of Walt Disney, aspects of the man that have been the subject of debate and discussion. Blechman wrote, "It's not that he doesn't criticize Disney. It's that he does it with such respect; he praises with faint damning. The author's attitude toward him is not unlike Disney's attitude toward the public. Careful, upbeat and unfailingly polite."
The Art of the Lion King is a coffee-table book in which Finch dedicates his full attention to the one Disney film. "It recounts the story line in leaden, portentous prose, but who'll stop to read that pseudmystical text when the gorgeously reproduced illustrations speak so swell for themselves? Smartly varied, they map the exhaustive preparatory steps that go into a Disney 'toon movie," wrote Entertainment Weekly critic Steve Daly.
With Linda Rosenkrantz, Finch wrote Gone Hollywood: The Movie Colony in the Golden Age, a collection of short essays and anecdotes on the everyday events in the motion picture studios of Hollywood during the reign of such major studios as Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Village Voice writer M. T. Nera described it as "ably written, researched, and illustrated." Gone Hollywood has been recommended for both students of American film and the general film buff. Finch's earlier Rainbow: The Stormy Life of Judy Garland received praise from critic Walter Clemons in Newsweek for its "sustained effort to examine Garland as an artist." Clemons added that "within the space limitations of writing a text for a lavish pictorial biography [Finch] produces a cogent bio-critical essay" and commended Rainbow as "one of the most intelligent [books] so far" about the famous entertainer. New York Times Book Review writer Julia Whedon regarded the book as an "evocative biography," noting that "by acknowledging her talent and letting go of the legend imposed upon and created by the woman, [Finch] restores to her a certain dignity called reality."
Embarking upon new territory, Finch examines the history of financial markets with In the Market. Critic Richard Drezen noted that "Finch has produced a sumptuous book with a narrative that guides the reader from century to century, accompanied by lavish illustrations and a timeline of historic events."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 1994, Gordon Flagg, review of The Art of the Lion King, p. 15.
Choice, March, 1994, C. R. Hannum, review of Jim Henson: The Works: The Art, the Magic, the Imagination, p. 1120.
Entertainment Weekly, July 15, 1994, Steve Daly, review of The Art of the Lion King, p. 57.
Library Journal, December, 1995, Janice Zlendich, review of The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms, p. 102; January, 2002, Richard Drezen, review of In the Market: The Illustrated History of the Financial Markets, p. 119.
Los Angeles Times, July 21, 1996, Kevin Baxter, review of Beer: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 16, 1986, p. 10.
New Republic, December 22, 1973, pp. 22-24.
Newsweek, October 15, 1973, pp. 101-102; June 9, 1975, pp. 79-80; December 8, 1986, p. 89.
New York Review of Books, May 16, 1974, pp. 3-7.
New York Times Book Review, December 2, 1973, pp. 55, 58, 62-63; December 7, 1975, p. 86; January 4, 1976, pp. 3, 16.
Professional Geographer, August, 1993, Peter L. Russell, review of Highways to Heaven: The Auto Biography of America, p. 371.
Publishers Weekly, September 20, 1999, review of The Art of Walt Disney, p. 68.
Technology and Culture, January, 1995, Joseph J. Corn, review of Highways to Heaven: The Auto Biography of America, p. 192.
Time, December 22, 1975, p. 67; December 14, 1981, p. 87.
Times (London, England), January 27, 1987.
Times Literary Supplement, November 27, 1969, p. 1354; August 13, 1971, p. 962.
Village Voice, April 21, 1980, p. 44.*