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Matisse: In Search of True Painting

Matisse

Rebecca Rabinow, Curator, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

Henri Matisse (1869–1954) is one of the most acclaimed masters of his generation. The critic Clement Greenberg, writing in The Nation in 1949, called a "self-assured master who can no more help painting well than breathing." However, painting had rarely come easily to Matisse. Throughout his career, he questioned, repainted, and reevaluated his work. Curator Rebecca Rabinow explains how Matisse used his completed canvases as tools, repeating compositions in order to compare effects, gauge his progress, and, as he put it, "push further and deeper into true painting." While this manner of working with pairs, trios, and series is certainly not unique to Matisse, his need to progress methodically from one painting to the next is striking. For Matisse, the process of creation was not simply a means to an end but a dimension of his art that was as important as the finished canvas.

This event is part of the Met Salon Series.

Engage with Met curators, artists and guests in an informal setting, over coffee and light refreshments.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Matisse: In Search of True Painting, on view December 4, 2012–March, 17, 2013.

Image, above left: Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954), Young Sailor I, 1906. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 32 in. (99.7 x 81.3 cm). Collection of Sheldon H. Solow; Image, above right: Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954), Young Sailor II, 1906. Oil on canvas, 39 7/8 x 32 5/8 in. (101.3 x 82.9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.41). © 2013 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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