11 September, 2008
Hillary Spurling and the Biography That Slept Late
Eminent biographer Hilary Spurling, who wrote the two volume major biography of our Henri Matisse, was presented with what, for a writer, must have seemed a suicide mission. Matisse' life story is perhaps the last biography about a major figure of the Twentieth Century to be written. Why? Look at how dead boring he seems to be!
The paintings are superlative, but the artist - oy! He makes Sigmund Freud seem like a rock star, if you go by the staid personage that photographs of Matisse present.
I got word that there was a filmed interview of Matisse, and I searched for it on You Tube and on Google. Nothing turned up (let me know if you find it), except I did come across this Charlie Rose interview of author Hillary Spurling on the biographies of Matisse. The first half is the director of the Guggenheim foundation (skip this if you must) and then the die-hard fan of the great Henri Matisse will be delighted to hear Spurling's account of her books and the man Matisse.
With apologies about the length, here is the video. Tip: I open the video, and then place it on pause while it loads. Later, I skip the cursor to the half way mark and then enjoy.