Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Matisse Nude

Henri Matisse, 1933by Dick Mac

I love Matisse paintings. I could look at them all day. There are colors that Matisse used in his work that I do not see in paintings by his contemporaries, or those who came before him. It's almost as if he had a conference with the Sun and decided he would add some colors to the prism, and the Sun agreed.

I enjoyed the Matisse v Picasso show that visited London and New York City in 2002-2003. I had the good fortune to see the show in both cities. This was coincidental. I did not make a special trip to London to see the show. It was interesting to see how the curators in each city handled the show.

The New York show was curated by the Museum of Modern Art, which owns a formidable Picasso collection. One might say that MoMA is Picasso's home away from home. The London show was curated by the Tate Modern, which has a less Picasso-centric collection, and, like MoMA is one of the most important collections of modern art in the world.

It very much felt like the New York show was a Picasso show about his relationship with Matisse; whereas the London show was a more balanced presentation.

This is one of my favorite Matisse paintings:

Matisse's paintings of nude women are nicer than Picasso's. Matisse seemed to paint women with an admiration, a love, a softness; Picasso painted women with a passion that does not always look loving or even admirable. Matisse seems to adore women with his work whereas Picasso seems to think about women with his paintings (and think not very nice things, I'm afraid). OK, I'll just say it: many Picasso nudes feel misogynistic and Matisse's feel loving.

I need to make a lunchtime trek to MoMA soon to gaze upon Matisse.

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