In the Studio: Artists of the 20th Century in Private and at Work

Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois Chaigneau, foreword by Olivier Royant, trans. from the French by Joseph Laredo . Edition Olms (www.editions-olms.com), $65 (208p) ISBN 978-3283012151
Delving into the photo archives of French magazine, Paris Match, where Chaigneau is an editor, and accompanied by several of the interviews and articles the magazine published, the author offers a glimpse into the working processes and personal lives of some of the 20th century's canonical visual artists . Focused mostly on European masters such as Pablo Picasso, Bernard Buffet, René Magritte, Marc Chagall, and Joan Miró, the book's highly accessible, if minimal, commentary and anecdotes allow the photos to take center stage. Georg Baselitz, for example, is pictured perched on a chair with his head in his arms, as if "haunted by invisible demons," with several large scale paintings in the background. In contrast, Salvador Dalí, ever the "wily publicist," seems to relish the camera's presence: in one shot dressed as a Spanish nobleman with an expression of faux-seriousness. Elsewhere, as a testament to his creative drive, Henri Matisse is pictured in 1954, bedridden but still painting with a specially devised long brush mere months before his death. Moving beyond the studio, some attention is given to the private lives of the artists, adding a human element to these creative giants. Photographer Willy Rizzo captures Picasso in a rare candid and intimate moment, reading the comics of a newspaper while his boxer, Yan, looks on. But perhaps the most illuminating moments are when the artists, in interviews, talk about their creative process; there is something humble and brave, for instance, in Jacques Villon's quip, "I don't know what I've discovered… but I know that I'm still looking". Color and b&w photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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