Nat Tate – An American Artist 1928 – 1960

Artist Nathwell Tate was born in 1928 in Union Beach, New Jersey. On January 8 1960 he contrived to round up and burn almost his entire output of Abstract Expressionism. Four days later he killed himself. This book offers an account of Tate’s life and work which can be seen either as straight art biography or as fiction. It is an investigation of the blurry line between the invented and the authentic, the wholly false and the utterly real.

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‘January 8th, it seems, is not only my birthday but also the fateful day when the painter Nat Tate contrived to round up and burn almost his entire output. Four days later he jumped to his death from the Staten Island Ferry, thereby completing the ragged circle of his life’s events. William Boyd’s description of Tate’s working procedure is so vivid that it convinces me that the small oil I picked on Prince Street, New York, in the late ‘60s, must indeed be one of the lost Third Panel Triptychs. The great sadness of this quiet and moving monograph is that the artist’s most profound dread – that God will make you an artist but only a mediocre artist – did not in retrospect apply to Nat Tate’ David Bowie

‘A moving account of an artist too well understood by his time’ Gore Vidal