Matisse's Poets: Critical Performance in the Artist's Book (Paperback)
  • Matisse's Poets: Critical Performance in the Artist's Book (Paperback)
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Matisse's Poets: Critical Performance in the Artist's Book (Paperback)

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£28.99
Paperback 392 Pages / Published: 21/03/2019
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Throughout his career, Henri Matisse used imagery as a means of engaging critically with poetry and prose by a diverse range of authors. Kathryn Brown offers a groundbreaking account of Matisse's position in the literary cross-currents of 20th-century France and explores ways in which reading influenced the artist's work in a range of media. This study argues that the livre d'artiste became the privileged means by which Matisse enfolded literature into his own idiom and demonstrated the centrality of his aesthetic to modernist debates about authorship and creativity. By tracing the compositional and interpretive choices that Matisse made as a painter, print maker, and reader in the field of book production, this study offers a new theoretical account of visual art's capacity to function as a form of literary criticism and extends debates about the gendering of 20th-century bibliophilia. Brown also demonstrates the importance of Matisse's self-placement in relation to the French literary canon in the charged political climate of the Second World War and its aftermath. Through a combination of archival resources, art history, and literary criticism, this study offers a new interpretation of Matisse's artist's books and will be of interest to art historians, literary scholars, and researchers in book history and modernism.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
ISBN: 9781501351396
Number of pages: 392
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Kathryn Brown here explores all aspects of Matisse's achievements as a book artist, showing how his engagement with writers became a driving force in his aesthetic development. Moving between visual and literary imperatives, she also provides an informed and subtle presentation of the historical context in which Matisse was working, further enriching our appreciation of the books he designed, particularly during and after the second World War, when he combined drawings, cut-outs and poetry to express a spirit of resolute resistance and resilient cultural identity. * Peter Read, Professor of Modern French Literature and Visual Arts, University of Kent, UK *
Henri Matisse hails from the distinctly French tradition of the painter-poet whose creative output (as well as personal and professional life) was inextricably linked with literature and writers. In Kathryn Brown's clear-eyed and discerning study Matisse's Poets, the artist's collaborative book ventures serve as a fascinating lens through which to examine Matisse's relationship to literature and writers. Using the metaphor of the stage, Brown defines Matisse's artists' books as an effective space where the painter could perform his role not only as illustrator but also as reader, critic, and artist acutely aware of his public image. As such, each chapter in this well-researched and amply illustrated study shows how Matisse self-consciously engaged with literary works by authors as diverse as Stephane Mallarme, Henry de Montherlant, Charles Baudelaire, Pierre de Ronsard, James Joyce, Tristan Tzara, among others, to produce and extend his own pictorial language as well as to position himself as a sophisticated reader of both the literary canon and the avant-garde. Brown therefore rightly places Matisse's artists' books within a broad matrix of concerns that allows her to go beyond conventional text-image analyses to include the social and political valences of Matisse's creative and strategic decisions in his diverse publishing projects. The interdisciplinary framework of Matisse's Poets will attract literary critics as well as art historians and scholars of media and book history. Its lucid prose and finely tuned arguments will make it a useful tool for teaching as well as scholarly research. * Anna Sigridur Arnar, Professor of Art History, Minnesota State University Moorhead, USA *

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