MATISSE FROM A TO Z by Marie Sellier
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A French ABC, to be approached with heart and eyes wide open. Sellier introduces Matisse in a small volume that offers readers the intimacy of browsing through a notebook stocked with bright reproductions, line drawings, and black-and-white photos of the artist. To maintain the alphabetical sequence, the title words remain in French; thus, ""Appendicite"" is the first word, translated to ""Appendicitis"" and followed by a few paragraphs about the illness that led to Matisse's initial attempt to paint. The structure may confuse readers at first; it is an arty choice but it reflects the painter's heritage and the quixotic selection of subjects creates a humanistic portrait of Matisse, as well as a palpable feel for his art. The conversational text unravels the mystery of art by sharing its secrets. For example, the pages titled ""Fenˆtre,"" or ""Window,"" explain how a window sheds light on the painter's work and how the canvas frames the world just as a window does. Other terms launch discussions of Matisse's influences, techniques, and his work in a context of other painters. Throughout, the joyous dance of colors and movement the artist created to sustain, record, and celebrate his own life is uplifting.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
Page count: 60pp
Publisher: Peter Bedrick