Sometimes I wish I had studied Art History in university. That’s why I picked up In Montmartre by Sue Roe. It looks at the rise of Modernism in early 20th Century Paris by focusing on Picasso and Matisse. And when I say Picasso and Matisse, I mean mostly Picasso, which was a disappointment because I’m more of a Matisse kind of gal.
In Montmartre mostly deals with the period from 1900-1910. Roe’s research is magnificent and paints a detailed and nuanced look at Montmartre in that period. In addition to Picasso and Matisse, she also looks at many of the lesser know artists of the time and the influence of Cezanne.
For me, a casual reader of Art History, the book was a little too dense. Roe takes a very specific period and describes and analyses it in minute detail. I think I would have been more interested in the gossip of the time. This period is terribly interesting, but for some reason In Montmartre just didn’t do it for me.
Who would like this book? In reading Roe’s biography (after reading the book) I came to know that she is an academic, and her book reads as an academic tome. For those who are really interested in the nitty-gritty of the birth of Modernist Art – this is the book for you. For a novice, like myself, a lighter touch would have been more enjoyable.