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Chasing Matisse Press Release

April 5, 2005

Have you ever fantasized about ditching it all – the house, the job, the routine, even the comforts you enjoy – to follow your dream? James Morgan did and, in CHASING MATISSE: A Year in France Living My Dream (Free Press, $25, ISBN: 0-7432-3754-4, date of publication: April 5, 2005), he tells the funny, sad, but always defiantly hopeful stories of his coming of age in middle age Pushing aside all the “what ifs,” Morgan sets out to follow in the footsteps of his creative hero, the great artist Henri Matisse, in the hopes of finding himself and realizing his truest talents. Part memoir, part travelogue and part biography of Matisse, CHASING MATISSE follows Morgan and his wife Beth through a year of searching throughout France and Morocco for the secrets of a live lived to its fullest.

After thirteen years in their beautifully restored Arts and Crafts home (about which Morgan wrote another, critically acclaimed book), the couple was restless, ready for a new chapter in their life. Inspired by Matisse’s unyielding creative drive and spirit that propelled him well into old age, Morgan takes up painting again after a long hiatus, and decides to visit Matisse’s studios, see through he same windows, walk the same streets, and even paint some of the same scenes. They sell their beloved house, put their furniture in storage, and begin their quest for a dream that always seemed just out of reach.

Following Matisse from Picardy to Paris, Corsica to Vence, their trip, initially planned to last a year, turns into a lifetime adventure as they absorb and share the details of each exotic place – from the littlest things, like finding a fantastic soupe de poisson (fish soup) or realizing a growing appreciation for the accordion, to the larger satisfactions of an unexpectedly inspiring view of the City of Lists in the cold winter rain to rediscovering the sites, portals, and significance of some of Matisse’s most haunting masterpieces.

But CHASING MATISSE is not just about understanding Matisse or becoming a better painter or enjoying the treasures of France. It’s about living the life that calls you. It’s about learning how to see the things one cannot see with the eyes alone. For, as Morgan learns, we don’t see just with our eyes; we see with our brains and our hearts. CHASING MATISSE enlightens us with its fresh perspective on art and love, creativity and adventure as it makes all of our dreams seem just a little more possible.

We hope you will consider this book for review/feature. Please contact Tara Kennedy for additional information or to arrange an interview with the author.

Tara Kennedy
Publicity Manager
Free Press
(212) 698-1252


About the author: James Morgan is the author of the New York Times Notable book, The Distance to the Moon, and the critically acclaimed If These Walls had Ears. He also collaborated with Virginia Kelley, President Clinton’s mother, on her best-selling autobiography, Leading with My Heart.

Morgan’s articles and essays have appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post Magazine, Preservation, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Traveler.

Morgan and his wife currently reside in Paris, France.

Copyright © 2005 James Morgan & Beth Arnold. All rights reserved

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