MATISSE AND PICASSO: A Friendship in Art by Gilot. Francoise
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MATISSE AND PICASSO: A Friendship in Art

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The friendly rivalry between the two titans of 20th-century art as seen by Picasso's mistress and mother of two of his children, Claude and Paloma. This is not a retread of Gilot's Life with Picasso, still less a hatchet job like Arianna Huffington's Picasso: Orator and Destroyer (1988). Gilot focuses largely upon the art produced by Matisse and Picasso during the period when she lived with Picasso (1945-1954), with any dirt kept on the Olympian plane. Picasso, despite towering world-fame, was an insecure artist and needed constant reassurance about his works. Gilot's job was to develop her own art while praising his and yet not diminishing her love for Matisse, whom she favored over Picasso. But Picasso was volatile and could invent slights and reproaches without number. Only Matisse's absolute access to inspiration, which Picasso recognized as equal to his own, could amaze, calm, and even stupefy him. The reader comes away from Gilot's Matisse--an intellectual, abrim with bliss and generosity of spirit--with renewed respect for his genius and works. The conversations she records, of the rivals' mutual allegiance to Manet and the strength they drew from their immensely valued understanding of each other's growth, have a richness that win inspire readers who are themselves artists. In fact, Gilot is so heavy on art interpretation that she sometimes wavers between critical jargon and clear statement. The main thrust of her book captures the nerve-ties between Picasso and Matisse while pinning down the spirit of their works; the ""life with Pablo"" side is much sketchier, and indeed Matisse receives even more thorough biographical attention than Picasso. Inspiration sans gossip--and the cachet of Gilot's close relationship with both artists will likely garner this fascinating work plenty of attention and sales.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Doubleday