"This book is extraordinary in revealing not only so much about Matisse that was previously unknown and unexpected, but also so much of real importance to an understanding of him and his art . . . Truly indispensable for anyone interested in Matisse, or in the milieu in which he lived and worked, or in the forces that shaped the art of this century–with a human dimension that is vividly drawn, utrterly compelling, and profoundly moving."
–John Elderfield, curator of the 1992 Matisse retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York
"Hilary Spurling, most accomplished of biographers, sheds an entirely new light on the humiliations and failures that Henri Matisse had to overcome in order to develop into the greatest French painter of this century. Her account of Matisse’s early years is as riveting as a novel by Zola."
–John Richardson, author of A Life of Picasso
"Besides being a first-rate scholar, Hilary Spurling is an artist in narrative who has unearthed a fascinating story and told it brilliantly. This is a terrific achievement."
–Michael Holroyd, author Bernard Shaw