bookshelves: published-2015, nonfiction, art-forms, summer-2014, france, paris, biography, la-belle-epoch
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from August 02 to 11, 2014
Description: In Montmartre is a colorful history of the birth of Modernist art as it arose from one of the most astonishing collections of artistic talent ever assembled. It begins in October 1900, as a teenage Pablo Picasso, eager for fame and fortune, first makes his way up the hillside of Paris’s famous windmill-topped district. Over the next decade, among the studios, salons, cafés, dance halls, and galleries of Montmartre, the young Spaniard joins the likes of Henri Matisse, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Gertrude Stein, and many more, in revolutionizing artistic expression.
Sue Roe has blended exceptional scholarship with graceful prose to write this remarkable group portrait of the men and women who profoundly changed the arts of painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, and fashion. She describes the origins of movements like Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism, and reconstructs the stories behind immortal paintings by Picasso and Matisse. Relating the colorful lives and complicated relationships of this dramatic bohemian scene, Roe illuminates the excitement of the moment when these bold experiments in artistic representation and performance began to take shape.
A thrilling account, In Montmartre captures an extraordinary group on the cusp of fame and immortality. Through their stories, Roe brings to life one of the key moments in the history of art.
1. Pablo Picasso turns up with his Catalan friend Casagemas during the World Fair and quickly feels at home, painting the scene and carousing in such notorious watering holes as the 'Zut'.
2/5 Picasso is painting, selling and carousing, and falling for Fernande, his new muse.
3/5 By 1906, Picasso has met with Matisse. The two of them are like chalk and cheese.
4/5 Picasso travels with Fernande to Spain, which opens the mind to fantastic possibilities.
5/5 Picasso eventually leaves Montmartre, with Fernande, for the sedate charms of Clichy.
Having recently re-acquainted myself with Picasso's early manhood years in Twilight of the Belle Epoch, this was a lovely supplement.
Reader Stella Gonet
Producer Duncan Minshull.