Sunday, April 06, 2014

More Matisse: Simon Schama

Simon Schama: how Matisse and Picasso Turned Old Age Into Art

This morning on Facebook, Rising Tide and Pearls From the Ocean filmmaker Robert Adanto posted this link. The discussion of Matisse's aims and goals in particular compel.

One delicious tidbit:
"...his freedom, not just from easel painting, but from the containing edge, the frame, was what Matisse sought from the play of forms he had somehow brought into independent organic life, shapes that embodied the forms of nature, without either laboriously imitating or departing entirely from their visual and tactile presence. So the termini of designed space were joyously over-run; the distinction between figure and ground made ambiguous (especially when Matisse incorporated the discarded shapes from a cut-out into the same composition). He described the correspondence between the play of those shapes and whatever had provoked their visual genesis as a “rapport”; an affinity that he then went on to say was, in fact, love, and “without that love there can no longer be any dependable criteria of observation and therefore no longer any art.”

Another interesting point of discussion is how Matisse (and others, including Picasso himself) considered Picasso a thief of visual ideas. Influence is tricky; how edifying to read about it so long ago.

Matisse in action

The Circus (Jazz) 1943
More about the cutouts:Matisse website

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