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Matisse on Art, Revised edition (Documents of Twentieth-Century Art) Paperback – July 24, 1995

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Flam here mixes Matisse's own words on art gleaned from "major writings, interviews, and pedagogical comments" with his own discussions on Matisse and 52 black-and-white illustrations of Matisse's work. This "well-documented and clearly written source book will appeal to art specialists and laymen alike"
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The publication of this anthology of forty-four of Matisse's 'writings' on art is long overdue and should prove to be an extremely useful and popular addition to the growing documentary literature of twentieth-century art."--John Hallmark, "Burlington Magazine
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Product Details

  • Series: Documents of Twentieth-Century Art
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Revised ed. edition (July 24, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520200322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520200326
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
Here are compiled the writings of and interviews with Matísse. It is not only about his estethic concerns but also about his feeling for life. The latter was his underlying motif in his paintings. This book is very interesting also for people without artistic concerns since Matísse here conveys his fine-tuned philosophy of life. A highly rewarding book that one can return to many times.
Mats Winther
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Format: Paperback
Painters are often their own worst enemies when speaking about their work, obscuring rather than enlightening. But not Matisse. The intelligent and painter knew the trap that speaking of his art could be, yet his own comments on it are intelligent and illuminating. This book is fine reading that's a help to the working painter, as well as the viewer. You'll look at Matisse's great paintings with a fresh eye after reading it. And that's what matters.
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Format: Hardcover
If you want to extend the boundaries of ordinary perception, in order to produce unique, distinctive visions read "Matisse on Art." It is a critical piece of literature written by a masterfully innovative painter. I recommend it as a professional artist for nearly 20 years and as an art professor.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful and wise collection of the thoughts of a very brilliant and humble man. Matisse is perhaps the most coherent thinker in modern art. His sage insight into his own motivations and sources of inspiration remain essential reading for any serious artist. From his example one learns the importance of construction in art which for Matisse meant understanding the reality of the picture plane, the constructive power of color when used in opposition to each other and to push and pull optically, the function of overlap and position within the optical plane and what expression means from a graphic standpoint. Having pioneered many of the premises of modernity Matisse remained a humble appreciator of the traditions of figure painting and returned regularly to the study of the human form and landscape. It is that humble poise between past, present and future that makes Matisse a mentor for the progressive artist. Matisse was wise because he worked daily in his studio and reflected seriously on those tangible experiences. The reader of this great collection can glean all of this directly from the master himself in his own words. Also many of the interviews record details of his daily life which reveal so much about a fascinating man. William J. Havlicek PhD
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Format: Paperback
This book is simply indispensible for any working artist. Matisse is very clear about the act of painting and its relation to reality, without fussing about. He is particularly clear about the artist's struggle with what he calls "a limited medium" -- in the aftermath of photography, cinema, etc. And of course, if you want to know anything about the deployment of colour, here is your man. The book appears to be in bits and pieces, journalistic, but there are endless gems here. And of course the seriousness of a true artist.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book over a period of a couple/few weeks, and enjoyed every moment of the process. The book contains interviews, short essays/articles about Matisse, and some generally brief statements by the artist, if memory serves. Part of the reason I wanted to read the book had to do with my seeing the exhibition of Matisse cut-outs at the MOMA, and being so impressed with his skill and approach to making art that I felt like I had to learn more.

Much of what comes out of this book is straightforwardly about how Matisse trained himself to become the great artist so many think he was. (I leave room for the notion that there are probably those who don't think all that highly of him.) Some of Matisse's comments made me think that he genuinely enjoyed the fame, the respect and the adulation that came his way. But more to the point, Matisse seemed always to be thinking about how much work and sacrifice it took to hone his eye, and his hand, and all of the skills that went into his development.

There is advice to young painters to the effect that the best training is to work long and hard from nature. Matisse testifies to his own training, the countless hours (if you trust him, he put in at least the 9 to 5, everyday, if not a good deal more.) He talks about his teachers, good (Moreau) and bad (Bougerou, I think) and the nature of the artistic scene when he was a young man, just starting out. So, much of this book is "inspirational." I don't know that I will go back to it, often, now that I'm finished reading it, but I might.
One thing more. Most people who have more than a glancing familiarity with Matisse and his reputation will have heard the bit about his "wishing to paint canvases that will please the bourgeois, sitting in his study, trying to relax.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a must book for anyone who wants to become an artist. Except for Matisse's final interview (which was published elsewhere), this volume follows his published thoughts not only about how he himself creates art, but also about what the visual arts are really about. Since these essays were published over a long period of time, there is some repetition in his thoughts; nevertheless, it is fascinating to see how Matisse develops his philosophy as the emphasis of his painting changes. The editor, Jack Flam, does an excellent job of tying these essays together in both time and place. This volume belongs on every artist's bookshelf.
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