Throughout his long career, Henri Matisse (1869–1954) continually expanded the boundaries of his art. By repeating images in pairs, trios, and series, he conducted an ongoing dialogue with his earlier works in order to, as he put it, "push further and deeper into true painting." In this fresh approach to a much-studied artist, prominent scholars from the United States and Europe examine more than sixty works in concise chapters that focus on this aspect of Matisse’s working process. From early pairs such as Young Sailor I and II (1907–8) through a series of late studio scenes from Venice (1946–48), Matisse is shown revisiting a given theme with the aim of devising innovative, often radical, solutions to such problems as how to portray light, handle paint, select colors, and manipulate perspective.
New technical studies of the early paired works and photographs documenting the evolution of his later paintings help to elucidate Matisse’s complex evolution. In numerous excerpts from letters and interviews, he is revealed as an artist who regularly questioned himself and his methods, a man of powerful intellect who regarded each new painting as an adventure. A significant addition to art historical literature, Matisse: In Search of True Painting is a revelatory study of a seminal figure in 20th-century modernism.