"...to devote my life to the essential thing-- the thing for which I am made and which can bring a little happiness to the great family, the greatest spiritual family."--Matisse to André Rouveyre, September 4, 1942
Of all the artists of this century, Henri Matisse is one of the greatest and most beloved. His influence on modern art, both during his lifetime and today, has never stopped growing; in the eyes of the world, he is the French painter par excellence.
Henri Matisse is all the more cherished because his work celebrates the positive aspects of life, as evidenced by the titles of many of his major paintings: Luxe, Calme et Volupté, La Joie de Vivre, La Danse, Musique, to mention but a few. His explosions and juxtapositions of color and pattern inspire pure delight in the beholder, and his mastery of line, volume, and form are perhaps unequaled in the art of our time. The vitality, energy, and life-enhancing qualities that radiate from his art represent distillation of all that is affirmative in the human condition and are given immortality through that rare and indefinable quality known as genius.
The art of Matisse describes a trajectory leading from realism to abstraction, from darkness to light, from the cold of the north to the heat of the south, a route marked off by such revolutionary innovations as the burst of color found in Fauvism or the invention of his cut-outs. Matisse was still creating at a time in his life when many artists are content to rest on their laurels.
Since its original publication in 1984, this book by Pierre Schneider stands alone as the bible on the art of Matisse. The author spent fourteen years amassing a prodigious amount of information on the artist, and includes his own personal and original views on the work. Including over nine hundred illustrations, this is the most substantial reference of the works of Matisse ever published.
The reader will discover Matisse watercolorist, draftsman, ceramist, and the architect-- and unquestionably one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.