Matisse on My Mind
Matisse on My Mind
Parler Paris–your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, April 25, 2005
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
James Morgan may be “Chasing Matisse,” but Matisse is chasing me.
As a proponent of Carl Jung’s theory of “synchronicity,” inexplicable coincidences resonate as signs to be reckoned with, creating a natural path much like a tiny stream finding it’s way down a hill. In this case, artist Henri Matisse is creating the path — to what is yet undiscovered.
The odalisque casually reclining at the end of the bridge crossing the river Seine to the suburb of Le Pecq, where the Hôtel de Ville sits on the quai Voltaire, struck me as Matisse-like in repose and form. I considered his many languid ladies painted nude or clipped from blue paper as I crossed it on foot just last weekend.
Friday when I sat in the waiting room of the ophthalmologist for an annual eye exam, one framed work of art on the wall stared me in the face — Matisse’s “Nu Bleu” paper and gouache cut-out done in 1952, the year I was born. In my hand at that moment was James Morgan’s new book, “Chasing Matisse.”
Master wordsmith and even more a master of marketing, Morgan is publicizing it with the fervor Matisse’s colorful palette. He was quick to send me a copy for review, and I was quick to open the cover to discover why Matisse is so often on my mind.
Morgan takes you on his journey both through France and the life Matisse once lived, exploring the tiny towns in Picardy where he was born and raised, to Paris where he studied art, to Brittany for summer vacations, to Corsica where he honeymooned, to Toulouse and Saint Tropez, Morocco, Antibes and Nice (where he died), plus a few points in between. Morgan lived his dream — a year in France chasing Matisse and now chasing his own dream with a new life in Paris.
Sunday, I planned to visit the exhibit at the Musée du Luxembourg “Matisse Un Seconde Vie,” on till July 17th, but the lines were long on a rainy weekend afternoon. Instead, I opted for the quiet halls of the old Bibliotèque Nationale on rue Richelieu to see the Mario Giacomelli photos “Métamorphoses.” The photos are definitely worth a visit, so catch the exhibit before it closes if you can. The ancient library (now void of books, librarians and readers) has a very respectable “petite librairie” (little bookstore) filled with art and photography books at reasonable prices. Staring me in the face on the rack at the entry was Taschen’s published “Matisse” with Nu Bleu on the cover. A mere 7 euros later, Matisse was in the bag.
Tonight at Shakespeare & Co., I’ll be among the listeners in the tiny reading room on the first level to hear author Leonard Pitt speak about his latest book, “Paris Disparu,” and I wonder if Matisse will come falling down from the shelves. Believe me, anything is possible in Paris.
A la prochaine…
P.S. Leonard Pitt is taking just ten lucky folks on a once-in-a-lifetime experience to uncover Paris Disparu with a special tour of the Left Bank Saturday, May 7th, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For a mere 60 euros you can be one of them. Reserve now by emailing [email protected]
For more information or to buy either book, visit /parlerparis/books/booksaboutfrance.html
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