Matisse and Charlie

We are almost back on track here at Henri. But in the meantime you might want to take a look at Charlie Finch’s recent article on the Matisse show at MOMA. It’s Charlie’s best of the year so far, and it will be one of our top 10. I’ve read it through a number of times already and a better piece of art criticism you won’t find. Memory and vision are top of the bill and Charlie gets it. Fantastic all around!

“If you look at some old home movies, or read a diary or leaf through some old party invitations, the richness of memory is abruptly stopped by the hard fact of its randomness and of the small slice of past experience that such mementos represent. With sharp knife and severe brush, Matisse is prepared to do the selection for us, to provide us with the means of memory avant la lettre.”

Strong work brings out the best in some art writers. Thanks Charlie!

4 thoughts on “Matisse and Charlie

  1. I saw this show in Chicago and returned several times, but especially to look at “Interior with Goldfish” 1914 and “Studio, Quay of Saint-Michel” 1916. Those two paintings have been a particular touchstone for a long time…

  2. Hi Dmitry. You’re right, It’s a fantastic show – I’ve been twice already and I’ll be going back. There are so many works in the show that redefine our expectations about painting. What was it about the paintings you mention that inspired you?

  3. Recently in Paris, Matisse was by far the best painter from what I saw. I rediscovered for myself as well Picabia again, Balthus and Derain 😉

  4. To Mr.Admin:
    Sorry for the very delayed response, but I only just now saw your question. Those two paintings have been among the best examples of how to give a sense of space through a painter’s shorthand, without resorting to such a schematic or conceptual language that it no longer feels experienced, but rather imagined or just thought up.
    It is very important for me to have a direct engagement with my subjects, and Matisse has shown me ways to do that without resorting to slavish measuring or other strategies that often result in the waxworks-type feel of so much realism.
    His best pictures brim with life, and what more could any painter really hope to communicate?

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