Blue Arabesque

Blue Arabesque

3.58 (210 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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 Eugene 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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Product details

  • Hardback | 215 pages
  • 134.6 x 182.9 x 25.4mm | 272.16g
  • Cengage Learning, Inc
  • HOUGHTON MIFFLIN
  • Boston, United States
  • English
  • 0151015066
  • 9780151015061
  • 2,092,885

Review quote

"It is Hampl's insight and humor that make this gem worth consideration." "An artful, affecting memoir whose lessons arrive in a delicious whisper." (starred) Whether discussing the journals of Katherine Mansfield or the harems of the 18th century, Hampl proves to be an authoritative and beguiling guide to the joys of leisure and the intellect." "�A� sinuous meditation on artistic inspiration..." (A-, EW Pick) "Hampl's memoirs of discovery are exhilarating...Hampl does with words what Matisse does with line and color." "It is Hampl's insight and humor that make this gem worth consideration." "Ultimately, 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...Patricia Hampl's determination to occupy the space between the eye and its object and her success at articulating the mysterious transactions therein grants her authority among writers like Berger and Sontag, who not only sit and stare but see. Read 'Blue Arabesque' and you too might mistake --or exchange -- art museums for churches." "Hampl''s memoirs of discovery are exhilarating...Hampl does with words what Matisse does with line and color." "Blue Arabesque is part of a rich but underappreciated sub-genre of nonfiction, a hybrid of art crticism and memoir...Here Patricia Hampl is true to her belief that ''[a] painting must depict the act of seeing, not the object seen.'' She illuminates and distinguishes among the many ways we apprehend our surroundings -- the gaze and the glimpse, seeing and sightseeing, the insolent leer and the clear-eyed observation. In so doing, she exercises precisely the visual discernment from which she once felt hopelessly alienated." "Blue Arabesque is part of a rich but underappreciated sub-genre of nonfiction, a hybrid of art crticism and memoir...Here Patricia Hampl is true to her belief that ''[a] painting must depict the act of seeing, not the object seen.'' She illuminates and distinguishes among the many ways we apprehend our surroundings -- the gaze and the glimpse, seeing and sightseeing, the insolent leer and the clear-eyed observation. In so doing, she exercises precisely the visual discernment from which she once felt hopelessly alienated." "[A] sinuous meditation on artistic inspiration..." (A-, EW Pick) "It is Hampl''s insight and humor that make this gem worth consideration." "Much is left for the reader to consider and pursue after reading this joy-filled and intriguing book." "Whether discussing the journals of Katherine Mansfield or the harems of the 18th century, Hampl proves to be an authoritative and beguiling guide to the joys of leisure and the intellect." "In her early poem Woman Before an Aquarium - yes, it''s about the painting - Hampl writes: ''A mature woman always wants to be a mermaid.'' Hampl achieves just such a metamorphosis here, swimming gracefully through the tricky currents of art and history, biography and memoir. Singing yet another beguiling verse of her career''s lovely song." "Ultimately, 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...Patricia Hampl''s determination to occupy the space between the eye and its object and her success at articulating the mysterious transactions therein grants her authority among writers like Berger and Sontag, who not only sit and stare but see. Read ''Blue Arabesque'' and you too might mistake --or exchange -- art museums for churches." PRAISE FOR PATRICIA HAMPL "Patricia Hampl is passionate about the demands of memory . . . Hampl's voice is learned yet intimate, a gift of herself to the reader."--Maureen Howard, author of The Silver Screen "Patricia Hampl writes in the service of life in the very largest sense - writing that 'makes a path' from reality to the soul."--Marie Howe, author of What the Living Do PRAISE FOR PATRICIA HAMPL "Patricia Hampl is passionate about the demands of memory . . . Hampl's voice is learned yet intimate, a gift of herself to the reader."--Maureen Howard, author of The Silver Screen "Patricia Hampl writes in the service of life in the very largest sense - writing that 'makes a path' from reality to the soul."--Marie Howe, author of What the Living Do PRAISE FOR PATRICIA HAMPL "Patricia Hampl is passionate about the demands of memory . . . Hampl s voice is learned yet intimate, a gift of herself to the reader."--Maureen Howard, author of "The Silver Screen" "Patricia Hampl writes in the service of life in the very largest sense writing that 'makes a path' from reality to the soul."--Marie Howe, author of "What the Living Do"" PRAISE FOR PATRICIA HAMPL"Patricia Hampl is passionate about the demands of memory . . . Hampl s voice is learned yet intimate, a gift of herself to the reader."--Maureen Howard, author of "The Silver Screen" "Patricia Hampl writes in the service of life in the very largest sense writing that 'makes a path' from reality to the soul."--Marie Howe, author of "What the Living Do"" PRAISE FOR PATRICIA HAMPL "Patricia Hampl is passionate about the demands of memory . . . Hampl's voice is learned yet intimate, a gift of herself to the reader."--Maureen Howard, author of "The Silver Screen""Patricia Hampl writes in the service of life in the very largest sense - writing that 'makes a path' from reality to the soul."--Marie Howe, author of "What the Living Do" PRAISE FOR PATRICIA HAMPL "Patricia Hampl is passionate about the demands of memory . . . Hampl's voice is learned yet intimate, a gift of herself to the reader."--Maureen Howard, author of "The Silver Screen" "Patricia Hampl writes in the service of life in the very largest sense  writing that 'makes a path' from reality to the soul."--Marie Howe, author of "What the Living Do" "In her early poem "Woman Before an Aquarium" - yes, it''s about the painting - Hampl writes: ''A mature woman always wants to be a mermaid.'' Hampl achieves just such a metamorphosis here, swimming gracefully through the tricky currents of art and history, biography and memoir. Singing yet another beguiling verse of her career''s lovely song." "It is Hampl''s insight and humor that make this gem worth consideration."
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Rating details

210 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 23% (49)
4 33% (70)
3 26% (54)
2 13% (28)
1 4% (9)
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