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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
This wonderful collection of interviews, personal essays, and rare photographs -- taken from the French magazine Paris Match -- allows readers into the private worlds of great painters such as Picasso, Miró, Chagall, Dalí, and many others. Intimate photographs show each artist in the studio -- including poignant photos of an aging, bedridden Matisse working on his brilliantly colored cutouts or using a seven-foot pole to sketch on the wall while lying down. The text describes the artists' process, personality, and history as they work in the studio, placing the reader side by side with these fascinating, enigmatic master painters.
These glimpses into the extraordinary personal lives of the great painters are revealing. Dalí, for example, painted landscapes on the inside of his car windows, simply because he was so bored by the geography of the real world. In his early days, Chagall painted naked in the studio because he couldn't risk ruining his only set of clothes. Braque always worked on several paintings at once and often mixed such unusual elements as ashes or sand into his paints. Precise and prolific even into his 90s, Balthus somehow maintained his skills at painting and mixing colors despite his failing eyesight.
The photographs and essays found in Encounters with Great Painters truly captivate the reader. One especially superb photograph is of a frail Balthus in his studio, leaning back in his chair with his wife, Setsuko, at his side. Together they ponder his day's work on a large, vibrant painting. The studio is tidy, their expressions joyous, contemplative, peaceful. The sense of being a part of the scene, of experiencing an intimate, shared moment is palpable. This is the essence of Encounters with Great Painters -- an entry into the unknown worlds of these brilliant artists. (Julie Carr)