The Madhouse Nudes

Van Gogh had brother Theo to front his work, and in The Madhouse Nudes, John Ordway has Manhattan art dealer Wyatt Arends to sell his politically incorrect nudes while he flees the city for Iowa, where a person can actually hear the corn grow, ”the leaves reaching out and bending over with a little snap.” The corn isn’t the only thing that snaps in this offbeat epistolary tale between artist and agent: Like his Dutch counterpart, Ordway suffers a mental breakdown. This chronicle by Robert Schultz of the painter’s journey back to health may be a little precious, but it will cure urbanites of any thoughts of migrating to the heartland — or even the suburbs. B-

The Madhouse Nudes
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