Having begun his career as a painter, Gowing's monograph on Vermeer (1952) brought him early recognition as a writer who combined this experience with a meticulous historical perspective. His foremost commitment was to the pioneering painters of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, notably Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse.
The exhibitions Gowing curated at Tate, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York famously helped to mould and reshape public perceptions. Characterised by a desire to instruct and encourage, his writing reflects a highly successful career as a curator and teacher. Introduced by the editor Sarah Whitfield, four decades of writing are brought together for the first time in this volume.