Matisse: Decoration As Art

Interior with Egyptian Curtain
By painting the interiors of his studio, populated with the objects he loved, did Matisse elevate decoration to the level of art? Or is it a false distinction? Beauty is beauty. The Boston MFA has a show (which I haven't seen yet) up called Matisse in the Studio, pairing many of Matisse's actual objects with paintings that depict them. One thing seems likely: that Matisse didn't love his paintings more than the objects themselves. Does love erase the dichotomy? Does an object have to be handmade to transcend the decorative? Is it the spark or breath of the unconscious that elevates things? The curtain clearly is equated with the tree seen through the window. Another distinction erased.


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