Matisse: A Portrait by Hayden Herrera is a work of art in itself, a luminous portrait of Matisse the man, his highs and lows, his love of comfort and color, his complex relationship with his wife, his boldness and stubborn belief in himself, and, above all, his passion for his art. At the time he started to paint, Matisse recounted: "I was filled with indifference to everything that people wanted me to do. But the moment I had this box of colors in my hands, I had the feeling that my life was there." Vivid and entertaining, Herrera's brief critical biography brings to life a man who, despite a tumultuous emotional life, sought to create "an art of balance, of purity and serenity." At the same time her attention to Matisse's personal visual language brings the reader astonishingly close to the creative process, to the mind and brush of the artist. With twenty-eight color plates and eighty black-and-white illustrations, Matisse: A Portrait will guide both the general interest reader and the student of art to a vital appreciation of the work of one of the greatest and best-loved artists of this century.