Born in Seattle in 1941, Washington, Carter Ratcliff grew up in Michigan and Ohio. In 1963, he earned a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago. By 1967, he had settled in New York. His books on art include John Singer Sargent (Abbeville Press, 1982); Robert Longo (Rizzoli, 1985); The Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Postwar American Art (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1996); and Andy Warhol: Portraits (Phaidon Press, 2007).