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img729Robert Myron Coates (1897-1973) was an American author and the art critic for the New Yorker who coined the phrase “abstract expressionism”, after he had seen the works of the New York painters Arshile Gorky, De Kooning and Pollock in 1946.

Best known for his five novels, he also was a very influential art critic for thirty years. The writing in his novels is often classified as belonging to what is called the “Lost Generation” of authors who many times lived abroad for long periods, so called Expats. These authors were in tune with the many new forms in writing and art all over Europe before the middle of the thirties. In Paris, he wrote his first novel and was acquainted with Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.

img731Of interest to me are the two travel accounts he wrote, the first one: Beyond the Alps in 1961 is pictured above, it has a fine Paul Bacon designed dust jacket and the second book he wrote in 1965 is titled, South of Rome . This post is about the first travel book.

The photographs in the book Beyond the Alps were taken by his wife, and it would be interesting, from my point of view, to have this book at hand while traveling through Italy on a similar trip.

The author’s observations about the local scenery are razor sharp and are to be expected from this interesting author. The hill towns are quite an unusual travel trip and very interesting with respect to their architecture and natural environment.

img732img734img733Somehow, the book goes beyond just travel. It also focuses on customs and people, small hill towns were not a common destination in 1961!

img736img735img738Have a look at the stone figure in the picture above top left, that is our destination in this post, we are going to Bomarzo, found in another story next, in a different book.

img737In the picture above we see the entrance to the Monster Park in Bomarzo, I remember having read a story about it some years ago in the 1967 summer issue of Horizon Magazine with great pictures. Shown below here.

img436 img436Aimg437img436Cimg740img741img742img743img744img745img746img747Here is what Robert Coates wrote about Bomarzo.

img823img824This is the place to go and visit in my opinion. Buon Viaggio!

 

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