Atic period for Matisse Marguerite survived and merged remarkably stronger confident and determined after the ordeal As one of Matisse s most loyal supporters she catalogued his papers his works and was the catalyst for a catalogue du raisonne which she and her husband Claude Duthuit developed Spurling writes with great skill the book reads like a page turning novel I appreciated the numerous colour photographs and illustrations they One Wild Weekend enriched the readingxperience I looked up a handful of Matisse s works online while reading Viewing the works as the story unfolded made me appreciate Matisse s techniues style and creativity He was a revolutionary artist Forgetful of Their Sex even though many failed to understand his work He was labeled a lunatic a madman The madman portrayal clung to him throughout his career After World War II when his work was in anxhibition alongside his friend Picasso at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London there were protests some members of the public perceived the works to mock civilized values for which the war was fought p 441 When Matisse transitioned to other art forms he used paper cut outs to create wall hangings tapestries and ceramic tile designs He also designed and built a chapel in Vence France Chapelle du Rosaire which Spurling describes as his desire to create something monumental Matisse had found a champion for his chapel design in a young 27 year old brother of the Catholic Church who admired the architect Le Corbusier Brother Louis Bertrand Rayssiguier The chapel against all odds given Matisse s fame did not resonate with the Roman Catholic Church came to fruition in 1951 p 449 There was tremendous opposition including from a group of nuns including the young nun Moniue Bourgeois who was partly the inspiration for the chapel Bourgeois had been a nurse to Matisse after one of his surgeries The chapel included innovative designs in stained glass windows not of religious scenes ceramic tiles covered with graffiti style images and paintings Given Matisse was an atheist the project was that much controversial His friend Picasso opposed the project vehemently Yet Picasso admired Matisse s cross design made of white ceramic tile decorated with images drawn freehand in black Matisse already spoke of the chapel as the crown of his life s work He firmly overruled a proposal to seek architectural input from Le Corbusier producing instead a biddable consultant of his own the Parisian architect and academician August Perret He ll do what I say said Matisse P 450Throughout his lifetime Matisse s work consumed him Yet family was almost as important Spurling weaves a remarkable story of a tortured man an artistic genius and family man one who loved his children grandchildren and wife Naturally Naughty Wicked Willing even though in later years they were separated Matisse died in 1954 at the age ofighty four Spurling s two volume work is remarkable Definitely a commitment to read but worth it for fans of Matisse andor of twentieth century art view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler. EBut F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby every woman who played an important part in Matisse’s life was remarkable in her own right not least his beloved daughter Marguerite whose honesty and courage surmounted all ordeals including interrogation and torture by the Gestapo in the Second World WarIf you havever wondered how anyone with such a tame public image as Matisse could have painted such rich powerful mysteriously moving pictures let alone produced the radical cut paper and stained glass inventions of his last years here is the answer They were made by the real Matisse whose true story has been written down at last from start to finish by his first biographer Hilary Spurling From the Hardcover dition.
Well worth reading to learn about Matisse the artist and Matisse the person and those who surrounded supported and were part of his life Matisse has been my favorite artist for many decades It has always fascinated me to see the many stages he progressed through in his art from the wild fauve period to the ornately patterned art and then the sublime paper cutouts I had red only brief biogrphical sketches of his life before this and was practically xhausted reading how hard he worked to develop his art how he agonized over his choices and what a severe task master he was with himself and all of his family I found it was best to read only sort sections at a time so that I could focus on author Hilary Spurling s Cruel Attachments: The Ritual Rehab of Child Molesters in Germany excellent scholarship of creating the art world context in which Matisse worked It was after all one of the most dynamic periods of artxploration and innovation the book rereads very well and that is what I am doing at the present rereading pausing reflecting and perusing my art books as well as memories of museum viewings In the second part of her superlative biography of Matisse Hilary Spurling provides a splendid portrait of the artist as painter and family man Relying on a range of source material never before accessed Spurling develops the painter s life narrative as a smorgasboard of many personalities that remained nigmatic ven to his immediate circle including his family Feverishly dedicated to his vocation he described his painting as a rape of myself a certain tenderness or weakening in the face of a sympathetic object However his canvases always provided him a liberation an xpanded pictorial space beyond me beyond any subject or motif beyond the studio beyond ven the housea cosmic space in which I was no aware of the walls than a fish in the seaIn the pursuit of his art Matisse imposed severe demands on all around him The running of his studio and management of his dealings almost always involved another dominant figure in his life whether it was his wife Amelie or in the last two decades of his life his Russian live in manager the Tempting Fate extraordinary Lydia Delectorskaya Spurling goes to greatxtents to stablish that Matisse s relationship with his leading models and managers was purely for vocational reasons with no involvement in the affairs of the heart She is in my opinion only partly successful in persuading the readerAll in all this is a beautifully narrated biography that shows Matisse almost passively becoming victim to his surroundings because of his singular honesty as an artist Spurling provides a colorful account of the years in Tangier and Nice his xperience through the wartime years the various solitary trips he undertook to Tahiti and to the United States the One Giant Leap extreme criticism he had tondure almost all through his life Apocalyptic Cartography especially in relation to his rival and contemporary Picasso as well as theventual break up of his family in his final decades This book is a marvelous read once started this account moves like a suspense. “If my story were ver to be written down truthfully from start to finish it would amaze veryone” wrote Henri Matisse It is hard to believe today that Matisse whose xhibitions draw huge crowds worldwide was once almost universally reviled and ridiculed His response was neither to protest nor to retreat; he simply pushed on from one innovation to the next and left the world to draw its own conclusions Unfortunately these were generally false and often damaging Throughout his life and afterward people fantasized about his models and circulated baseless fabrications about his private life Fifty years after his death Matisse the Master the second half of the biography that.
Novel filled with splashes of color and colorful personalities a tour de force in biography writing whose honesty of portrayal would have made Matisse proud Matisse The Master was a well researched biography of Henri Matisse from 1909 until his death in 1954 that reads like a suspense novel It was interesting to see how his career and art progressed as well as the influences of two world wars on Matisse his art and his family This volume contains many sketches color plates of his art and photographs as well to nhance your reading Heart and Soul / Almost Heaven experience It was incredible to see how Matisse was not appreciated by the art community at best and often reviled at worst Spurling has been one of my favorite biographers and didn t disappoint As one who knows very little about modern art this was a valuable way to learn about one if its great pioneers This book covers Matisses adult life relating plenty ofducation about his work as well is a very detailed relating of his personal life I would think that some people would like a shorter version of the story or perhaps a direct xplanation of Matisse art and its importance A comprehensive look at Matisse s life as an artist He was dedicated to his art ven through all his struggles in life This biography of Matisse covers his art working relationships and personal life A bit too long for my liking but a good read for those interested in artist biographies From BBC Radio 4 ExtraEleanor Bron reads from Hilary Spurling s biography of the great French artist Abridged by Doreen Estall Along with uentin Bell s biography of Virginia Woolf this and Spurling s first volume The Unknown Matisse are masterpieces of the life writer s art From the artist s arly days in the poor and dim north of France to his last days in the light filled south there s nough detail here to sink a lesser biographical vessel There s so much that we didn t know before Spurling s scholarship is xhaustive but it s all so well told This is not the Matisse that introductory art history courses in college conjure up Here is no happy bourgeois the angst ridden Picasso s opposite number Matisse had a hard life from beginning to nd I devoured both volumes and was sad when I finished them This book is the phenomenal second volume of the two part work of Matisse s biography by Hilary Spurling I have a newfound love and appreciation for Matisse s work after reading of his tumultuous life passion for his work and challenges both personal and professional Matisse suffered from chronic insomnia and myriad of health problems that included intestinal cancer that came with significant complications that impacted his mobility in later years Yet ven when bedridden Matisse continued to create He transitioned to other art forms that included his now famous cut out designs Matisse also lived through World War II in Nazi occupied France His only daughter Marguerite a staunch supporter of her father s work worked for the Resistance was captured and tortured by the Nazis A traum. Began with the acclaimed The Unknown Matisse shows us the painter as he saw himself With unprecedented and unrestricted access to his voluminous family correspondence and other new material in private archives Hilary Spurling documents a lifetime of desperation and self doubt xacerbated by Matisse’s attempts to counteract the violence and disruption of the twentieth century in paintings that now seem A Love To Remember effortlessly serene radiant and stableHere for the first time is the truth about Matisse’s modelsspecially two Russians his pupil Olga Meerson and the xtraordinary Lydia Delectorskaya who became his studio manager secretary and companion in the last two decades of his lif.
Hilary Spurling CBE FRSL born 1940 is a British writer known as a journalist and biographer She won the Whitbread Prize for the second volume of her biography of Henri Matisse in January 2006 Burying The Bones Pearl Buck in China was published in March 2010She is married to playwright John Spurling and has three children Amy Nathaniel and Gilbert and two grandchildren