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“If my story were ever to be written down truthfully from start to finish, it would amaze everyone,” wrote Henri Matisse. It is hard to believe today that Matisse, whose exhibitions draw huge crowds worldwide, was once almost universally reviled and ridiculed. His response was neither to protest nor to retreat; he simply pushed on from one innovation to the next, and left the world to draw its own conclusions. Unfortunately, these were generally false and often damaging. Throughout his life and afterward people fantasized about his models and circulated baseless fabrications about his private life.
Fifty years after his death, Matisse the Master (the second half of the biography that began with the acclaimed The Unknown Matisse) shows us the painter as he saw himself. With unprecedented and unrestricted access to his voluminous family correspondence, and other new material in private archives, Hilary Spurling documents a lifetime of desperation and…[more]
Hilary Spurling presents a thorough and riveting account of Matisse's early life, from his beginnings as the son of shopkeepers in Flanders through his impoverished days as a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Tracing Matisse's life through his thirties, Spurling describes how the artist's stubborn northern temperament helped sustain him through many challenges, both artistic and financial, as he found his way as a painter.
This is a thrilling portrait of the extraordinary childhood of Pearl Buck, the now-forgotten bestselling Nobel Prize winning novelist.
Pearl Buck was raised in China by her American parents, Presbyterian missionaries from Virginia. Blonde and blue-eyed she looked startlingly foreign, but felt as at home as her Chinese companions. She ran free on the grave-littered grasslands behind her house, often stumbling across the tiny bones of baby girls who had been suffocated at birth. Buck’s father was a terrifying figure, with a maniacal zeal for religious conversion—a passion rarely shared by the local communities he targeted. He drained the family’s budget for his Chinese translation of the New Testament, while his aggrieved, long-suffering wife did her utmost to create a homely environment for her children, several of whom died tragically young. Pearl Buck would eventually rise to eminence…[more]
Hilary Spurling presents a thorough and riveting account of Matisse's early life.