Rachel Cohen is the author of 'A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists' (Cape), 'Bernard Berenson' (Yale) and, most recently, ‘Austen Years’ (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

Collective effort – the social sculptures of Simone Leigh

The sculptor is deeply connected to a wider network of artists and thinkers who also get their dues in this large-scale survey

4 Aug 2023
Still Life with Apples and Peaches by Paul Cézanne

Learning curves – how to see Cézanne with fresh eyes

By making unexpected connections and comparisons, this revelatory show allows the painter’s real achievements to become clearer than they have ever been

30 Aug 2022
Installation view of Kara Walker’s ‘Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored’ (1997) and (above) Cauleen Smith’s ‘The Right Time, Before and After’ (2017) in ‘Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40’

Geniuses of the place – the award-winning artists standing their ground in Chicago

Rachel Cohen spends some quality time with a series of installations and exhibitions by MacArthur Award-winners set throughout the city

4 Jan 2022
Hanging scroll depicting the goddess Dakini (detail; 14th century), Japan. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

How artists in Kyoto made contemplative work in turbulent times

The Met’s display of 14 centuries of work from the longtime artistic centre of Japan gives plenty of pause for thought

10 Apr 2020
Untitled (Village Street Scene)(1948), Beauford Delaney. Terra Foundation for American Art. © Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

‘Here is a man who could do whatever interested him in paint’ – on the paintings of Beauford Delaney

After a period of critical neglect the artist is at last in the ascendant, as his great friend James Baldwin always thought he would be

30 Mar 2020
Woman Reading (detail; c. 1880–81), Édouard Manet. Art Institute of Chicago

Making the case for late Manet

The painter’s once unfairly dismissed late works are full of possibilities he didn’t live long enough to explore

29 Aug 2019
Young Girl with a Vase (detail; 1889), Berthe Morisot. Private collection.

Berthe Morisot comes into her own

A landmark exhibition puts the painter back where she belongs – at the heart of the Impressionist movement

6 Oct 2018
Luncheon of the Boating Party, (1880–81), Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Dallas Museum of Art

‘This is a book about a man who painted, not about the paintings he made’

A new biography of Renoir emphasises the role the painter’s domestic life played in his work

20 Jan 2018

Past and present collide at the Art Institute of Chicago

The museum’s new medieval and Renaissance galleries put its outstanding collections in the spotlight and invites fresh and unexpected connections

20 Mar 2017

Why are there so many period rooms in US museums?

Influential private collectors were often keen to recreate their own experiences for the benefit of the public at large.

12 Jan 2017

J.P. Morgan: The Man Who Bought the World

As the Wadsworth Atheneum reopens, Rachel Cohen considers the legacy of one of its greatest benefactors

5 Sep 2015