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In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art

Penguin Pr. 2015. 384p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781594204951. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698192232. FINE ARTS
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The Montmartre section of Paris was a special place in the first decade of the 20th century. There, a rich cross-section of fine artists from Spain, Italy, Russia, America, and of course, France, gathered to be inspired and create. Two of the giants of 20th-century modernist art, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, began their careers at Montmartre. The stories behind their development, as well as that of other renowned modernists such as Andre Derain, Maurice Vlaminck, Marie Laurencin, and Amedeo Modigliani are recounted as well as the artistic culture of Montmartre in general, in which the origins of fauvism, cubism, and futurism were sown. In addition, the interactions of these artists with collectors such as author Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) and her brothers Leo and Michael are also chronicled along with the development of couturier Paul Poiret and the activities of other art dealers and writers who lived in this section of Paris at the time. Roe (Private Lives of the Impressionists) shows how the work of these struggling artists in Montmartre provided the basis for the modern art forms that would unfold as the 20th century progressed.
VERDICT While drawing on some academic sources, this book is written in lively narrative prose that is more appropriate for general readers than scholars.

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