Books

In Montparnasse

Sue Roe

***As heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week***

Witness the birth of Surrealism in Sue Roe's lively account of the artists who lived, loved and worked together

In this entertaining and informative biography, Sue Roe illustrates how surrealism emerged in Paris amidst an artistic ambience of lively experimentation. Before surrealism made its startling impact, artists including Marcel Duchamp and Giorgio De Chirico had already begun to shift the focus of the art scene in Montparnasse. Beginning with Duchamp, Roe tells the story of the wonderfully eccentric and avant-garde Dada movement, the birth of Surrealist photography with Man Ray and his muse Kiki de Montparnasse, the love triangle between writer Paul Éluard, his wife Gala and the artist Max Ernst, until the arrival of Salvador Dalí in 1929. In Montparnasse recounts the extraordinary, revolutionary work these artists undertook as much as the salons, café life, friendships, rows and love affairs that were their background.

'Brings together some of the chief protagonists in one of the 20th century's most inventive art movements. A vivid read' Radio Times

'Highly colourful . . . they're all here, the big names of the time - behaving badly, and, at times, quite madly too' Observer

'Roe is a talented writer' Sunday Times

In Montmartre

Sue Roe

'Heady, lively, engaging...brings Montmartre's heyday back to life' - Sunday Times

'Brilliant' - Guardian

The real revolution in the arts first took place not, as is commonly supposed, in the 1920s to the accompaniment of the Charleston, black jazz and mint juleps, but more quietly and intimately, in the shadow of the windmills - artificial and real - and in the cafés and cabarets of Montmartre during the first decade of the century. The cross-fertilization of painting, writing, music and dance produced a panorama of activity characterized by the early works of Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck and Modigliani, the appearance of the Ballet Russe and the salons of Gertrude Stein.

In In Montmartre, Sue Roe vividly brings to life the bohemian world of art in Paris between 1900-1910.

Gwen John

Sue Roe

In 1942, at the height of his fame, Augustus John predicted that 'fifty years from now I shall be known as the brother of Gwen John'. Gwen John (1876 - 1939) is indeed now recognised as a great artistic innovator, yet for years her life remained shrouded in the myth of the solitary recluse. Born in Pembrokeshire, Gwen followed her brother to the Slade. Her future was bound up with Augustus, his women and his coteries, yet she was also daring and highly original, living determinedly in her own way. Defiant yet shy, she painted and modelled amid the Bohemian circles of early twentieth-century Paris and embarked on a long, intense love affair with France's most legendary artistic figure, the sculptor Rodin. A friend of Symbolist poets and post-Impressionist painters, later she turned increasingly to religion, achieving a deep serenity which masked her inner turbulence, creating her haunting paintings - delicate, austere, restrained and still. Based on her lively and passionate unpublished letters and copiously illustrated, this vivid new biography challenges our prejudices about the ways we evaluate women artists and finally uncovers the life of this ardent and complicated personality, one of the finest artists of her day.

Important Notice: The digital edition of this book is missing some of the images or content found in the physical edition.

The Private Lives Of The Impressionists

Sue Roe

Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt.

Though they were often ridiculed or ignored by their contemporaries, astonishing sums are paid today for the works of these artists. Their dazzling pictures are familiar - but how well does the world know the Impressionists as people? In a vivid and moving narrative, biographer Sue Roe shows the Impressionists in the studios of Paris, rural lanes of Montmartre and rowdy riverside bars as Paris underwent Baron Haussman's spectacular transformation.

For over twenty years they lived and worked together as a group, struggling to rebuild their lives after the Franco-Prussian war and supporting one another through shocked public reactions to unfamiliar canvasses depicting laundresses, dancers, spring blossom and boating scenes.

This intimate, colourful, superbly researched account takes us into their homes as well as their studios and describes their unconventional, volatile and precarious lives, as well as the stories behind their paintings.

Jacob's Room

Virginia Woolf (and others)

Jacob Flanders is a young man passing from adolescence to adulthood in a hazy rite of passage. From his boyhood on the windswept shores of Cornwall to his days as a student at Cambridge, his elusive, chameleon-like character is gradually revealed in a stream of loosely related incidents and impressions: whether through his mother's letters, his friend's conversations, or the thoughts of the women who adore him. Then we glimpse him as a young man, caught under the glare of a London streetlamp. It is 1914, he is twenty-six, and Europe is on the brink of war ...

This tantalizing novel heralded Woolf's bold departure from the traditional methods of the novel, with its experimental play between time and reality, memory and desire.

Biography

Sue Roe