About Raymond J. Steiner

RAYMOND J. STEINER is editor/art critic for ART TIMES, a literary journal that provides commentary and resources for the fine and performing arts, which he co-founded in 1984 and is now available exclusively online at arttimesjournal.com. He has profiled over 100 American and European artists and regularly reviews or critiques art exhibits and art books. Among the books he has authored are 23 Woodstock Artists; Heinrich J. Jarczyk: Toward a Vision of Wholeness; Heinrich J. Jarczyk: Etchings 1968—1998; The Art Students League of New York: A History; and Quarry Rubble (a book of poetry). Steiner has written the introductions to many art catalogues and has lectured on art-related subjects both here and abroad. His works have been translated into German, French, Italian and Chinese. He is a member of the American Society for Aesthetics, the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), the Salmagundi Club, and Artist’s Fellowship, Inc. for which he served as Vice President.

Because of his long association with art and artists, The Mountain with its story of the personal development of an artist, is a novel he was uniquely qualified to author. Into its characters, its plot, its setting in the Woodstock art colony, have gone some twenty-five years of interaction as an artwriter familiar with the inner workings of the art world both in Woodstock and in New York City. Knowledge of the artscene in Woodstock, NY, in fact, informed an entire chapter in his book, The Art Students League of New York: A History. In addition, Steiner has lived and worked in the region since 1945, allowing for an intimate knowledge of local lore, customs, and history. His first-hand experience of life on the Hudson River (he once worked as a barge captain on the river), with local industry (he once worked as a laborer, a handyman, a railroad worker on a section, a teamster, a county worker, a teacher in the Kingston Consolidated Schools, among other jobs), lends an authenticity to his story of a young man growing up in and around Ulster County. Finally, his travels abroad have allowed for The Mountain to encompass a wider spectrum, with such inclusions as the quarries of Solenhofen (from which the bulk of lithographic stones have come), and the “sister” art colonies in such places as Pollen, in southern German, the Barbizon Forest in France, and elsewhere in Europe.

His first full-length novel (he has written several short works of fiction, The Vessel of Splendor: A Return to the One; The Girl Who Couldn’t See (a children’s story); and Scraps McGillicuddy, a novelette published in ART TIMES, along with several short stories), he has deliberately chosen to present The Mountain as a work of fiction. Long familiar with the steady spate of art books published each year (he has been reviewing them for the past twenty years), Steiner felt that another non-fictional work on the subject of art would simply be lost to the reading public. By presenting the life of an artist in the guise of a “story” it is his hope that he could reach a wider audience, thereby informing a larger public of the unique position of the artist as well as the inner workings of the greater artworld.