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Henri Matisse, 1869-1954: Master of Colour (Basic Art) [Paperback]

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Item description for Henri Matisse, 1869-1954: Master of Colour (Basic Art) by Volkmar Essers...

Henri Matisse's adventures in color and light constitute a landmark in the history of modern art. From his apprenticeship in the studio of Gustave Moreau to the paper cutouts of the 1950's, the stages of his journey represent a triumph of artistic research and resolution. More than 300 reproductions grace this volume. The text provides a fascination survey of a complex life that crossed the paths of many legendary figures of the age.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 7.75" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2000
Publisher   Taschen
ISBN  382285977X  
ISBN13  9783822859773  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Regional > European
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Schools, Periods & Styles > Modern
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art Instruction & Reference > General
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Artists, A-Z > ( M-O ) > Matisse, Henri
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Artists, A-Z > General
6Books > Subjects > History > Europe > France > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Henri Matisse, 1869-1954: Master of Colour (Basic Art)?

Beautiful.  Oct 5, 2003
One looks at the works of Matisse and wonders why there is no Noble Prize in Art. He would have been so deserving. The works printed in this book are dazzling in their colors, shapes, lines and proportions. His work will be viewed for many, many years as the masterpieces of a tremendously creative man.
Cursory text, fabulous illustrations.  Nov 1, 2001
the problem with series that attempt to impose an accessible beginners' format on art and artists is that these things rarely conform to method. the Taschen introductions to great artists are all 96 pages long, dividing the artist's life into significant chronological chapters, following strict biography, and using key paintings to illustrate various points made. this is fine in practice, we've all got to start somewhere, and the series is noted for its refusal to talk down to the reader, its clarity of interpretation, and the bounteous range of miraculously mounted, full-colour reproductions, not just of paintings, but line drawings, lithographs, sketches, studies, woodcuts etc.

The obvious difficulty is not that artists are transcendent and wayward figures who won't fit into a neat grid, but that some artists lived to be considerably older than others. the first book in this series I read was Anna Meseure's 'Auguste Macke', the study of a painter who died when he was only 27. Meseure was able to elaborate each development in Macke's work in detail, and to give a proper treatment of biographical background and its influence on the art, if only on the level of subject matter.

Macke, however, remains a marginal figure. henri Matisse is one of the towering geniuses of 20th century culture. He lived, and painted masterpieces, until he was 85; his life spanned two cataclysmic World Wars, a riot of social and political changes, and almost every aesthetic revolution worth talking about in the last 150 years. given the same amount of space to discuss Matisse as Meseure had with a painter a third his age, Essers' study can't help being a cursory skim, with few revelatory anecdotes (we only learn in the chronology about Matisse's pilgrimmage to the aging Renoir; his theatre designs for Stravinsky; or the visit of Aragon to his sickbed during World War Two - such episodes are surely as important as some given prominence in the book), or, worse, few intimations of the blinding raptures that must have seized Matisse at each new artistic discovery and breakthrough. We learn very little about his relation to his cultural milieu, his tacit rivalry with Picasso, or his overall importance in the history of art; discussion of the work is apolitically formalist. Uncomfortable questions - the obsessiveness of his early year despite his family's poverty; his apoliticism during World War Two - are skimmed over.

None of this really matters. Matisse's work travels surprisingly well in reproduction, especially the later works involving cut-outs, simplified forms and bold colours. the colours throughout are done full bright justice to, so dazzling in fact that reading this book for more than an hour gave me a headache. The rich mix of classics ('Woman with the Hat', 'La Dance', 'Jazz') with the revelatory, less well-known (including spare, geometric, near-abstract views of Notre Dame during World War One) allow us to write our own story of this shamanic artist, whose patrician, Freudian mien concealed the colours and curves of a blazing and boundless inner life.


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