Tough Poets Press

Artists Who Kill

Artists Who Kill & Other Essays on Art
Alexander Theroux
Cover illustration by Edward Gorey

Alexander Theroux's first book of essays, filled with lore and rich anecdote, opens up an entirely new world of art for us. One of America's most illustrious writers, twice nominated for the National Book Award, the distinguished novelist and poet leaves us in this major compilation on the subject—virtually operatic in scope and, in span, nothing less than fully informative—a gripping, fact-filled, intoxicating panoply of 23 seminal pieces ranging from passionate artists driven to kill to winning, witty, and truly unparalleled takes on plaid, the art of revenge, cigar box art, and the Penitentes of Santa Fé. We read about gaffes in painting, the paradoxes of soft art, blind painters, and dabblers from movies, politics, and the stage fascinated in their private lives, often secretly, with painting. His essay "Magpies," about the fanatical extremes of collecting, alone is a taxonomic masterpiece.

We encounter in the pages of this massive book no end of celebrated but controversial geniuses and creators, from Raphael to the illustrator R. Crumb, from Jan Vermeer to Maurice Sendak, from Botticelli and his lovely model Simonetta Vespucci to Charles Schultz of Peanuts fame, from the naivist Ralph Cahoon to the genius of Fritz Eichenberg, the nonpareil of wood engravers, to the many world masters fixated on painting black canvases.

Entertaining and readable, scintillating and quick-witted, Theroux has written a book with an immediacy, compassion, and memorable insight, that surely rings with timeless and universal appeal.

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I am now accepting pre-orders for the limited edition of 150 signed and numbered hardcover copies of this 666-page collection, scheduled for delivery in May 2023. Unsigned hardcover and paperback editions should be available in June. Note: This is a case laminate hardcover, i.e., no dust jacket, image printed directly on the cover boards.

To pre-order, please send an email to with your name, mailing address, and number of copies requested, and I will send you a PayPal invoice within 24 hours. The cost is $55 per copy plus shipping: $6 to U.S. addresses, $36 to Canada and Mexico. Due to the licensing agreement with the Edward Gorey Trust, I can only ship the book to addresses within North America. Shipping costs will be adjusted if multiple copies are ordered. (Note: You do not need a PayPal account to make a payment, just a major credit or debit card.)


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