Hilary Spurling is the author of The Unknown Matisse: The Early Years, 1869-1908. Her other biographies include Ivy: The Life of Ivy Compton-Burnett, Paul Scott: A Life, La Grande Thérèse: The Greatest Scandal of the Century and The Girl from The Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell She was arts editor, theatre critic and subsequently literary editor for The Spectator during the 1960s. She is a regular reviewer for The Observer and the Daily Telegraph. She lives in London.
Matisse the Master (Hamish Hamilton)
The preface to Matisse the Master begins with a quote from Matisse himself: ‘If my story were ever to be written down truthfully from start to finish it would amaze everyone’. Until the publication of The Unknown Matisse, the first volume of Spurling’s biography of Henri Matisse, the few facts known about his life had been distorted by inaccuracy, misunderstanding and glaring gaps. During the fifteen years she spent researching and writing this definitive two-volume biography, Spurling’s access to hitherto closed family archives enabled her to uncover a character who bears little relation to the popular image of Matisse.