Skip to content Skip to navigation

VIRTUAL: BOOK TALK: George Rickey: A Life in Balance

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is requested

VIRTUAL TICKETS | Members and VESP holders free and Visitors $5


Would you rather join in-person? Please click here.


VIRTUAL BOOK TALK: George Rickey: A Life in Balance

with Belinda Rathbone

Before his death in 2002, George Rickey created more than 3,000 moving sculptures, including hundreds of major outdoor installations. His “useless machines,” as he called them, achieved complete rotation, used multiple variations of the pendulum, and delighted viewers with the joyride effects of conical movement.

George Rickey: A Life in Balance follows the life of a renowned artist―first a painter, then a sculptor―who found inspiration all around him―as a child visiting the Singer Sewing Machine factory managed by his father, in his adventurous youth in the London and Paris art studios of the 1920s, as an engineer in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and later as a pioneer in academic art programs around the United States when he embarked on the sculpture he became famous for.

But this is not only the story of a single artist’s creativity and achievement but of Rickey’s life in the larger context of the twentieth century: from Depression-era America to the upheaval of World War II, from the rise of New York as the world’s art capital at mid-century to the tumultuous 1960s, when Rickey emerged as an international figure rubbing elbows with Alexander Calder, David Smith, Christo, and many others. It is also the story of an exceptional marriage and of Rickey’s charismatic, devoted wife, Edith Leighton, who managed her husband’s career and reputation in the high-powered art circles of New York, Berlin, and Los Angeles.

Belinda Rathbone (author of The Boston Raphael and Walker Evans: A Biography) has captured the spirit of an artist and his world in this deeply researched and engrossing biography. George Rickey: A Life in Balance is for any reader fascinated by the lives of artists, the creation of enduring art, or twentieth century modernism. Includes 30 photographs that document Rickey’s life and work.


PURCHASE George Rickey: A Life in Balance from our partner, Harvard Book Store.


Assistive Listening Devices image

Auto-generated captions are available for most virtual programs. To request live captioning or other accommodations, please contact Hannah Weisman at or 617-720-7617 at least four business days prior to the event.