Monday, July 3, 2017

Matisse's Egyptian Curtain


We made it over to the Matisse mini-blockbuster at the Boston MFA yesterday. It was a terrific show (hoards of people notwithstanding) that examined the role of treasured objects in Matisse's painting as it developed over many decades. The guy had some really cool stuff, that much is clear. Much of it was Northern African in origin, including many fabrics, sculptures, and various pieces of pottery and tea pots and such. Matisse said the items were like actors in the staged productions that were his paintings. They could be used in different settings and placed in relation to other objects to create an endless variety of dialogue between forms. I posted on this the other day. The image I chose (shown here, too) was the signature image of the show, featuring a dialogue between Matisse's prized Egyptian curtain and a stylized tree seen through a window. Walking out of the show yesterday I told my wife that I would rather own that curtain than one of Matisse's paintings (that is if I could pretend not to know that any given painting might be worth tens of millions of dollars). The curtain is magnificent. It's huge, maybe ten feet tall, and incredibly vivid, and dynamic, and minimalist to just the right degree.

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