Oh How I Love you Matisse!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This painting by Henri Matisse (or poster in my case) was the first piece of art I ever purchased (probably $10 at World Market).

I put it up in my crummy rental house in a cheap plastic frame. I'm not sure I knew a whole lot about Matisse at that time but I knew that I loved this painting. Later trips to museums allowed me to see the real thing and I was wowed. Matisse has always been my favorite painter--the color, the looseness, the patterns-love all of it. It's interesting to look at the life and career of artists you love. I have a tendency to think they knew all along they were modern masters without having to work at it. But when you really study them you realize most artists went through several (or sometimes many) styles and had to learn just like the rest of us. For example take a look at this early Matisse painting.

Not really what we think of as Matisse-right? He was an administrator from a well-to-do family but after his mother gave him some drawing tools while he was ill in bed he pursued art ferociously--much to his father's unhappiness. He tried on many styles but was profoundly affected by viewing the work of the Impressionist painters, and later Van Gogh and Cezanne.
Gorgeous! Take a look at the above "Bouquet of Dahlias", Matisse, 1923 and then check out Cezanne's "Stilllife with Apples and Primroses", 1890.

Gorgeous and one of my personal favorites also. Thirty-three years after Cezanne painted this painting Matisse found his inspiration in Cezanne's still life paintings. Every painter finds inspiration in the work which has come before. Have you read "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon? It will change your thinking about making art. I'll chat about that soon.

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