11 September, 2008

Hillary Spurling and the Biography That Slept Late

The Unknown Matisse
Matisse The Master
both by Hilary Spurling

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.


Anonymous said...

Dear Casey;

I've just started reading the first book about Matisse. Mainly because I know so little about him and I've decided to follow Alyson Stanfield's suggestion about furthering my art education by reading some of the books she listed earlier.

I'm also a new Washington blogger and will "go public" when I have few more posts.
Jan Heigh

Casey Klahn said...

Reading the first part about Matisse' upbringing in the North of France during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century is very moving stuff.

Don't wait to go public, Jan! Look at my first few posts - not much there! remember that consistency and habit are the pillars of blogging.

Adam Cope said...

marcel morly - at ledomainperdu.com

apparently matisse's last 'student'

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Adam.

I had no idea that Matisse would be such an in-depth study.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism