A biography of Matisse : Gaston Diehl
Exhibition at the Matisse museum, from the 27th november 2015 to the 29th of february 2016, 164 avenue des Arènes - de - Cimiez, 06000 Nice, open every days from 10am to 18pm except thuersday, phone : 04.93.81.08.08
The first meeting between the art critic, journalist and film director Gaston Diehl and the leader of the fauvism movement Henri Matisse has happened in february 1942 at the Regina hotel in the Matisse room. At this time Gaston Diehl worked for an artistic review ("Comedia") leaded by René Delange. This trip to Nice is also an occasion for going out of Paris. Gaston Diehl isn't a beginner. He has already participated to several artistic adventures and he has the purpose to understand around Matisse. When Gaston Diehl goes inside the Matisse room who is also his studio he finds a lightening place and some objects used by Matisse for making his paintings (rond table, vase, chair). He sees the faithful secretary of the painter who sometimes pauses for him.
Matisse like the questions and the remarks from the young journalist and a strong friendship begins to happen between the both who is translated inside a correspondence about art. In one of the letters written in 1947 Diehl says to Matisse that he wants to write a biography about him. Matisse and Diehl meet often together in the MAFA (Mediterranean association of the friends of arts). The purpose of this association is to promote the contemporary art on the french riviera and to associate together the collectors, the artists and the art lovers. Matisse gives his agreement to Diehl and says that he is ready to give advices for writing the biography.
Henri Matisse and Gaston Diehl institute a kind of working protocol. Diehl writs some chapters and give them to Matisse one after one. Matisse read them and make some remarks to Diehl. Matisse recognize that Diehl work's is very important and he suggests to make some corrections with the events chronology of his life but he puts a limit. He doesn't want to see his private life inside the biography. The biography must only speaks about art. The faith is so deep between Matisse and Diehl that Matisse asks to Diehl to supervise the production of an Apollinaire biography with some Matisse paintings inside.
The biography entitled "Matisse" is published in 1954 several months before the Matisse death. This book (100 pages, 50 paintings colored) recieves good critics. It explains all the Matisse story with a traditional beginning until the success he recieves with the fauvism. All the critics says that it is the best book written about the painting since "The fauvism" of Georges Duthuit. Diehl has written the biography at Caracas when he worked for the french foreign ministry since 1950. At Caracas he publishes also some articles about art in european and south american papers and helps some south american artists for being well known. In 1983 he is elected as pressident of the south american house of Monaco. He leads the institution until 1998.
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