I’ll be traveling with my sister, the art teacher, to DC later this month. She has made a short list of museum high points she wants to see. One of them is the Matisse Cut-Outs in the National Gallery of Art.
I’ve always liked the guy’s work. You know his bright orange goldfish swimming around in the tall fish bowl with the big leafed plants? Or his meticulously detailed interiors crammed full of pattern and bright colors?
The face of the woman in The Lady in the Hat, one of his first publicly exhibited paintings, was a child’s delight with its shades of green, orange, yellow and red. A well-known critic sputtered, “A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public.”
No matter, Matisse found early favor with Gertrude and Leo Stein who began to buy his work and introduce him to the right people. He became good friends with Picasso and took his place among the hot up-and-comers of the age.
Matisse had a long career, he died at 84 in 1954 in his native France. It was in the last 15 years of his life that he started making cut paper collages. The art on display at the Gallery is kept under low light to preserve the color of the pigment.
Here is an instant Matisse refresher course on demand.
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