Books: The Costs and Colors of Christmas

$42 AND OVER

HENRI MATISSE by Louis Aragon. 2 vols., 721 pages. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. $75. The publication of this eccentric, often brilliant, book was one of the major events in the French art world. Aragon, whose talent as a poet-novelist has long been buried under his notoriety as a Marxian apologist, met Matisse in 1941, and until the painter died in 1954 spent hours in his studio at Cimiez talking about the creative process. It took Aragon 27 years to put together his notes on those conversations and Matisse's comments. Aragon can...

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