Henri Matisse: A Retrospective

John Elderfield, Author Museum of Modern Art $75 (480p) ISBN 978-0-8109-6116-6
Reproducing more than 400 artworks (320 in color), this hefty catalogue of an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art documents the largest and most ambitious Matisse retrospective ever assembled. In his exciting introductory essay, MoMA curator Elderfield, who organized the exhibit, interprets the artist as a painter of metaphors, signs and analogies that pointed to an internal world of the imagination. No mere hedonist, Matisse mistrusted visual sensations and aimed at a mode of representation that had the clarity of a text, notes Elderfield, who brilliantly deconstructs the artist's pictorial language. Elderfield shows that the myth of a Golden Age, expressed in images of luxury and erotic fulfillment, is a key influence on a man who decisively altered the way we look at pictures. While the focus here is on painting, numerous drawings, sculptures, prints and stained-glass window designs are also reproduced. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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