The author comes from what one would call French royalty of the art world. He has literally hobnobbed with some of the most talented artists of the twentieth century.
Aside from the historical content and context I thought the way Pierre suffers after the loss of his identity was the most intriguing aspect of the story. It’s as if the name change sends him into a complete identity crisis.
As the story unfolds we hear about the unusual circumstances of his birth, and why he legally was never considered a Matisse. I think his parents, the Matisse family and some of the Leroy family did him a great injustice. Pierre was stuck in a legal loophole, and despite the fact it remained that way throughout his life because of his legal father, I do think both of his biological parents should have stood up for him. I do take the emotional and violent events of WW2 into consideration, however I do think they owed him a conversation and clarification within his real family.
His whole life is subconsciously steered by this identity crisis and he doesn’t find any kind of inner peace until he turns around and tells the world who he really is.
I’m not sure it would have been the same for a boy from a lesser known family. The name Matisse is synonymous with creativity, passion, colour and the diverse world of art. I think Pierre wants people to acknowledge his own talent and also the long line of creative people he stems from. Most importantly he wants the same acknowledgement from the Matisse family, albeit subconsciously.
It is an interesting read, especially from an historical point of view.