This is the first true biography of Henri Matisse, and most of its contents will surprise even specialists. The few facts known until now about Matisse's life have been distorted by inaccuracy, misunderstanding and glaring gaps. Hilary Spurling's authoritative book investigates thoroughly the secret life of the Fauve - or wild beast - whose paintings shocked and infuriated his contemporaries in the first years of the 20th century. It tells the story of an innovative genius, of several remarkable women in his life and above all, of a man as warm, humorous and generous in his private relationships as he was dedicated to his art. Matisse's true character emerges at last from this enchanting and astonishing portrait in depth.