Monday, December 17, 2012

Did Matisse Ever Reach “True Painting”?

Sometime in the early 1930s, Henri Matisse hired a photographer to document his paintings at different stages of development. These photographs became signposts along the road toward what Matisse wanted to achieve in his painting and served not just as reminders, but also as alternative paths for consideration and reconsideration. In Matisse: In Search of True Painting, which runs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 17, 2013, Matisse’s well-known recursive process is once again displayed, but for the first time art historians question why the master worked this way. “Taken as a whole,” curators Dorthe Aagesen and Rebecca Rabinow write in the introduction to the catalog to the exhibition, “it reveals Matisse as an artist who conducted a dialogue with his earlier works, someone who continually questioned himself and his methods in order to, as he put it, ‘push further and deeper into true painting.’” By the end of the exhibition, the question remains for us, as for him, if Matisse ever reached his destination. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Did Matisse Ever Reach “True Painting”?"
[Image: (Left) Reprint of archival photograph documenting Henri Matisse's process
of painting The Dream, 1940.
January 7, 1940. Reprint of archival photograph. 31 1/2 x 26 15/16 in. (80 x 68.4 cm) (Frame) Image: 23 1/4 x 18 5/8 in. (59 x 47.4 cm). © 2012 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. (Right) Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954). The Dream, 1940. Oil on canvas. 31 7/8 x 25 9/16 in. (81 x 65 cm). Private collection. © 2012 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.]
[Many thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for providing me with the images above and other press materials related to Matisse: In Search of True Painting, which runs through March 17, 2013. Many thanks also to Yale University Press for providing me with a review copy of the catalog to the exhibition.]

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