Synopses & Reviews
The most sensual artist and the greatest colourist of the twentieth century, Henri Matisse was leader of the Favism movement in Paris, subsequently engaging with both Cubism and the decorative and spiritual art of Islamic cultures before the first World War. In the 1920s, his 'Odalisques' responded to European fantasies of 'Oriental splendor' while during the next decade, classical themes of nymphs, fauns and the dance were re-explored in the splendid and sober Barnes murals, illustrations to Mallarme and James Joyce. Matisse experimented with sculpture, including the increasingly abstract, monumental 'Back' series throughout this period. His near death in 1941 heralded a spiritual rebirth and a re-examination of the roots of French art in his romanesque and medieval heritage. The invention of the paper cut-out, 'cutting directly into colour', led to monumental decorative compositions by 1950. Matisse's skills as both a decorative artist and a man of profound spirituality were realized in the interior design and the liturgical effects of the Dominican Chapel of the Rosary at Vence. His legacy to artists in Europe and America was immediate: each subsequent artistic generation has had to measure itself against Matisse's achievement.
From the Twentieth Century Masters series.
About the Author
was born in London in 1956 and studied at Oxford University, Oxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. At the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Barbican Art Gallery, London, she was involved with major retrospectives concerned with postwar France: 'Paris-Paris, Creations en France 1937-1957',
1981, and 'Aftermath: France 1945-1954',
1982. Subsequently appointed lecturer in twentieth-century art history at the Courtauld Institute, she has helped to mount major exhibitions of the work of Raoul Dufy, Fernand Leger and the surrealists. She has published recently on Francis Picabia, Hans Richter, Max Ernst, and has completed a doctoral thesis on art and politics in France, c. 1935-1955. Post-1945 French art remains her prime specialization.