Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hilary Spurling's "The Unknown Matisse"

Why do I read biographies of artists? I'm looking for the springs of creativity, the shape of a life compromised by art, the motto on a fraying tapestry, the encouragement of success. I want to believe that, walking on this road, if I would hurry up, I could catch up with Matisse, and walk companionably with him, talking when either of us feels like it, but silent most of the time, in a kind of shared understanding. Here is Bohain: here is Singapore, and we are going somewhere together.

Of his portraits, Matisse said, "To sum up, I work without a theory. I am aware primarily of the forces involved, and find myself driven forward by an idea which I can really only grasp little by little as it grows with the picture."


Angie said...

I love biographical fiction, as well - especially "Lust for Life" by Irving Stone. Have you read that?

Jee Leong Koh said...

No, I have not. Thanks for the recommendation, Angie.

Angie said...

I'm actually embarrassed to recommend anything to you -- I prefer it the other way around -- but I was surprised at how much I liked that book.

I'm fascinated by Matisse as well; thank you for your recommendation.

Jee Leong Koh said...

You're welcome, Angie. And please don't stop telling me of good reads.