Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime

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9780151015061: Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime

Just out of college, Patricia Hampl was mesmerized by a Matisse painting she saw in the Art Institute of Chicago: an aloof woman gazing at goldfish in a bowl, a mysterious Moroccan screen behind her. This woman seemed a welcome secular version of the nuns of Hampl’s girlhood, free and untouchable, a poster girl for twentieth-century feminism. In Blue Arabesque, Hampl explores the allure of that woman, immersed in leisure, so at odds with the increasing rush of the modern era. Her tantalizing meditation takes us to the Cote d’Azur and North Africa, from cloister to harem, pondering figures as diverse as Eugène Delacroix, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Katherine Mansfield. Returning always to Matisse and his obsessive portraits of languid women, Hampl discovers they were not decorative indulgences but surprising acts of integrity.  Moving with the life force that Matisse sought in his work, Blue Arabesque is a dazzling tour de force.

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From the Back Cover:

A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
A Los Angeles Times Favorite Nonfiction of the Year
A Minneapolis Star Tribune Best Minnesota Book of the Year
Just out of college, Patricia Hampl was mesmerized by a Matisse painting in the Art Institute of Chicago: an aloof woman gazing at goldfish in a bowl, a Moroccan screen behind her. In Blue Arabesque, Hampl explores the allure of this lounging woman, immersed in leisure, so at odds with the rush of the modern era. Hampl s meditation takes us to the Cote d Azur and to North Africa, from cloister to harem, pondering figures as diverse as Eugene Delacroix, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Katherine Mansfield.Returning always to Matisse s portraits of languid women, she discovers they were not decorative indulgences but something much more.
Blue Arabesque isn't a memoir so much as it is a paean to the act of seeing, celebrating our capacity to be transformed by the truths art holds, recognizing them as holy. The New York Times Book Review

Lush, intelligent. Chicago Tribune
PATRICIA HAMPL is the author of four memoirs--A Romantic Education, Virgin Time, I Could Tell You Stories, and The Florist's Daughter--and two collections of poetry. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship, among many other awards. She lives in St. Paul and is Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota.
"

About the Author:

PATRICIA HAMPL is the author of three memoirs: A Romantic Education, Virgin Time, and I Could Tell You Stories; and two collections of poetry. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship, among many other awards. She lives in St. Paul, where she is Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota.

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