The Unknown Matisse - A Life of Henri Matisse, the Early Years, 1869-1908

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She can and does make us understand the torment and violence of feeling which drove Matisse to seek and eventually find his own visual vocabulary. There is no excuse, now, to mistake the tranquillity of the paintings for tranquillity of life. She has given us a new frame through which to view the man and his art. It is unfaultable--as good as Richardson's Picasso , perhaps even more impressive. As anyone who has read that will agree, there can be no higher praise for any biography. The purpose of this biography is triumphantly achieved. Convert currency.

Add to Basket. Book Description Knopf, Condition: New. More information about this seller Contact this seller. Seller Inventory M Book Description Knopf, New York, Dust Jacket Condition: New. First edition stated , first printing. Hardcover with DJ. Condition new, square tight and crisp book, no edgewar, no names, no underlinings, no highlights , no bent page corners, Not a reminder.

DJ new, bright and shiny, no edgewear, no tears no chips, Price Not clipped. Small 4to, pages, illustrated, notes, index. Heavy book will require additional postage for international orders. Seller Inventory Never used!. Seller Inventory P Ships with Tracking Number! Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory n. All of these contain many gems and, simply because of the hundreds of colour reproductions, Schneider's book is an essential adjunct to any new study of the artist. What has been so long awaited, a serious and full biographical study, has - at least partially - finally arrived.

If that sounds grudging, it is not meant to; it is merely factual, in that Hilary Spurling's book begins with Matisse's birth in and ends after less than half his life, with the artist only 39 years old.

File:Henri + Amélie Matisse Portrait jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps - to hurl vast, but possibly valueless generalisations around - it is because France is a nation of artists and England a country of biographers that the French are not, by a very long way, masters of their own biographical fates. The profession of "biographer" is not granted in France the quasi-reverence with which it is habitually greeted here. It is surely significant that sometimes the French have to put up with anglophone versions of the lives of their greatest cultural figures. Recently Graham Robb's Balzac and Victor Hugo made a considerable impact; and if the French want to know about Proust, they have to turn to George Painter, and for Berlioz, the French-sounding, but actually Franco-American, Jacques Barzun has given way to our own David Cairns, whose long-awaited second volume will appear next year.

Whether Picasso is a Spaniard, a Catalan or a Frenchman by adoption is a moot point. What is quite unambiguous is that his definitive biographer, among a plethora - if not a miasma - of art-historical monographs, is the Englishman John Richardson, who, at least implicitly, defines Picasso's nationality in his advance encomium for Spurling's life of Matisse by hailing her subject as the greatest French painter of this century.

In that great divide across the Channel, the gulf, as the Matisse bookshelf perhaps makes clear, is as much between critics and biographers as between national tastes in reading matter and styles. Significantly also, the critical artillery is heavily weighted towards academe, whereas in the world of biography, academe is a seed-bed rather than a nursery.

Some 40 years of publishing and reviewing biographies has made it abundantly clear to me that the best biographers are all taught, frequently brilliantly, by academics but, once they have their three or four years' training by professors, readers and lecturers, they nearly all make their biographical careers without benefit of a learned institution. But to any student of Matisse, it is precisely those notes, the quotations, the parentheses, that illuminate the man and the climate that formed his personality and his art; the wise reader, even of Spurling's magisterial work, will also indulge in the luxury of dipping again into the other books, particularly Schneider and Barr.

The latter gives one a wonderful foil to the almost permanent torrent of disapproval, opprobrium and contempt heaped upon Matisse; a level of vituperation that makes one cringe as one reads Spurling's often heart-breaking pages but, in the history of modernity in painting, theatre or literature, it seems desperately inevitable. Barr quotes an letter from Camille Pissarro a painter who at least behaved generously towards the young Matisse to his son: "All the painters worth anything, Puvis, Degas, Renoir, Monet and your humble servant, unanimously term hideous the exhibition held at Durand-Ruel's of the symbolist named Bonnard I".

And Bonnard, after all, was positively academic compared to that revolutionary firebrand Henri Matisse. When reading Spurling, it is also helpful if one can have Schneider to hand, so that one can look occasionally at colour reproductions of some of his early works, which Spurling, within the confines of a biography rather than an art monograph, has no space to illustrate.

Schneider approvingly quotes Gustave Moreau's remark to his pupils, of whom Matisse was the most notable: "I'm the bridge over which some of you will pass". One of the principal joys of Spurling's method is what one might term its non-interruptive discursiveness. The book's nearly half a thousand pages are full of passages, sometimes quite long, about other artists, such as Matisse's lifelong friend and one-time companion in poverty, Albert Marquet, or Paul Signac, the founder and the principal theorist of Divisionism the successor to pointillisme and briefly Matisse's mentor. Other notable sketches include Andre Derain, another battling artist of the period, the sculptor Aristide Maillol and, above all, Moreau himself, a highly original and significant painter who was one of the few officially favoured artists to see genius in Matisse - even though he clearly feared what he saw.

Without ever holding up the narrative, the author paints brilliant, sharply etched portraits of these other considerable figures in such a way that you visualise them, empathise with them and, above all, always see Matisse plain through their eyes as well as those of the omniscient narrator. This is biographical and literary skill of a high order. So often the word "unknown" in conjunction with the name of the biographer's subject is a catchpenny title, unworthy of note.

The Terrace, Saint-Tropez, 1904

Yet it is painfully appropriate here. Insofar as Matisse has an image outside his art, it is of a solid haut bourgeois , a bit wild in his youth, but always successful and, above all, comfortable. But the squalor was no operatic joke. Not since the young Berlioz has any French genius endured such grinding poverty, lack of support and cold indifference to the talent exploding into ever-new forms. Born to a solid family of tradesmen and weavers in the cold northern, Flemish region of France, the only encouragement Matisse had as an artist was a paintbox bought him by his mother, when he was ill in hospital and desperate to relieve his boredom.

Henri Matisse

To be an artist was so far from being a proper vocation as to be considered, in his home town of Bohain, a form of social disgrace. While his mother doted, his cold and distant father never withheld his disapproval. Matisse senior was not actually a bad man; simply a prisoner of the forbidding, puritanical world that made him.

File history

Even he could not help the catastrophe that closed his brother-in-law's margarine business and forced him to cut off Henri's minute allowance; any more than Matisse's wife, most sensitively portrayed by Spurling, could help her parents' innocent involvement in the colossal Humbert fraud, which made the activities of Clarence Hatry or Robert Maxwell seem like petty defalcations. After summarizing his career, Matisse refers to the possibilities the cut-out technique offers, insisting "An artist must never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, prisoner of success…" [55].

The number of independently conceived cut-outs steadily increased following Jazz , and eventually led to the creation of mural-size works, such as Oceania the Sky and Oceania the Sea of Under Matisse's direction, Lydia Delectorskaya, his studio assistant, loosely pinned the silhouettes of birds, fish, and marine vegetation directly onto the walls of the room. The two Oceania pieces, his first cut-outs of this scale, evoked a trip to Tahiti he made years before. In , Matisse began to prepare designs for the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence , which allowed him to expand this technique within a truly decorative context.

The experience of designing the chapel windows, chasubles , and tabernacle door—all planned using the cut-out method—had the effect of consolidating the medium as his primary focus. Finishing his last painting in and final sculpture the year before , Matisse utilized the paper cut-out as his sole medium for expression up until his death. This project was the result of the close friendship between Matisse and Bourgeois, now Sister Jacques-Marie, despite his being an atheist.

In , he established a museum dedicated to his work, the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau , and this museum is now the third-largest collection of Matisse works in France. Installation was completed in Matisse died of a heart attack at the age of 84 on 3 November The first painting of Matisse acquired by a public collection was Still Life with Geraniums , exhibited in the Pinakothek der Moderne. Previously, it had not been seen by the public since Matisse's daughter Marguerite often aided Matisse scholars with insights about his working methods and his works.

She died in while compiling a catalogue of her father's work.

Matisse's son Pierre Matisse — opened a modern art gallery in New York City during the s. The Pierre Matisse Gallery, which was active from until , represented and exhibited many European artists and a few Americans and Canadians in New York often for the first time.

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Henri Matisse's grandson Paul Matisse is an artist and inventor living in Massachusetts. Matisse's great-granddaughter Sophie Matisse is active as an artist. Les Heritiers Matisse functions as his official Estate. The U. The Tate Modern show was the first in its history to attract more than half a million people.

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The newly conserved cut-out, The Swimming Pool , which had been off view for more than 20 years prior, returned to the galleries as the centerpiece of the exhibition. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Matisse disambiguation. Main article: Fauvism. See also: Jazz Henri Matisse. Main article: List of works by Henri Matisse. July—August The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 13 February Retrieved 10 December Great French Paintings from the Barnes Foundation. New York: Alfred A. University of California Press, ABC Online. Retrieved 1 August Retrieved from enotes.

The Moroccans. Issy-les-Moulineaux, late and fall - MoMA". The Back III. Retrieved 29 July Matisse in Morocco: The Paintings and Drawings, — Henry N. Abrams, Inc. The Routledge Atlas of the Holocaust. Psychology Press. The Cut-Outs of Henri Matisse. New York: George Braziller. New York: Prestel Publishing. Henri Matisse: Modernist Against the Grain. Penn State Press. Natural enough, since he was surrounded by priests and nuns during his later illnesses and while working on the Venice Chapel, even though he remained a convinced atheist.

Retrieved 30 July Retrieved 25 December New York: Harry N. Engraved on wood and unpublished drawings of: Matisse, J. Marchand , R.