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Matisse: In Search of True Paintingby Rebecca Rabinow
Synopses & Reviews
Throughout his long career, Henri Matisse (1869–1954) continually expanded the boundaries of his art. By repeating images in pairs, trios, and series, he conducted an ongoing dialogue with his earlier works in order to, as he put it, "push further and deeper into true painting." In this fresh approach to a much-studied artist, prominent scholars from the United States and Europe examine more than sixty works in concise chapters that focus on this aspect of Matisse’s working process. From early pairs such as Young Sailor I and II (1907–8) through a series of late studio scenes from Venice (1946–48), Matisse is shown revisiting a given theme with the aim of devising innovative, often radical, solutions to such problems as how to portray light, handle paint, select colors, and manipulate perspective.
New technical studies of the early paired works and photographs documenting the evolution of his later paintings help to elucidate Matisse’s complex evolution. In numerous excerpts from letters and interviews, he is revealed as an artist who regularly questioned himself and his methods, a man of powerful intellect who regarded each new painting as an adventure. A significant addition to art historical literature, Matisse: In Search of True Painting is a revelatory study of a seminal figure in 20th-century modernism.
An investigation of Matisse's artistic development through his paired works
More than most artists, Henri Matisse conducted an ongoing dialogue with his earlier works, continually questioning himself and his methods in order to, as he put it, "push further and deeper into true painting." In a fresh approach to this giant of 20th-century art, Matisse: In Search of True Painting examines sixty works and more than five decades in a series of concise chapters by prominent Matisse scholars from the United States and Europe, each focusing on a particular aspect of his artistic development. From early pairs such as Young Sailor I and II (1906) and Le Luxe I and II (1907-8) through five Interiors at Nice (1917-21) to scenes from the studio in Vence (1946~48), the book shows Matisse responding to earlier styles and artists and developing his own, often radical, answers to such problems as how to portray light, handle paint, select colors, and manipulate perspective. The volume also discusses findings from new technical studies carried out on the early paired works that shed more light on Matisse's complex and deeply felt evolution. Both an intimate glimpse into the artistic process and a significant addition to the literature on modern art, Matisse: In Search of True Painting traces the path by which Matisse becomes himself.
About the Author
Dorthe Aagesen is curator and senior researcher at the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. Rebecca Rabinow is curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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