I had the pleasure to attend the preview of the Matisse exhibition now at the Tate. It was a good reason to go to London and well worth the trip. It is always so easy to appreciate the results of creative energy – the art – but the Tate has presented the beautiful Matisse note books filled with his thoughts and feelings, accompanied by the simple, wonderful, colorful works he invented with scissors. To read in Matisse’ own handwriting, “It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else” is an unforgettable way to recall the artist, as we stand in front of his art.
Late in his life, having nearly died and feeling like he had been given another opportunity to create, Matisse began to cut figures and shapes with scissors from painted papers. The Tate has brought together for the first time over 120 cut works from 1936 until 1964. The film and photos taken in his studio show the process of their creation, and Matisse’ joy in their making. As Henri Matisse used to say, “there are always flowers for those who want to see them”. Here a cut first published by Teriade for Verve in 1938.
“I have attained a form filtered to its essentials”, Matisse wrote while confined to a chair or bed with paper and scissors. He transformed a simple technique into a major art medium. The “Jazz” book, perhaps the most recognized images in the show, is here in full. The heart is of course the most touching, but I don’t agree with him when he says, “In love the one who runs away is the winner”. I believe the winner is the one who wants to leave but achieves to be left. To leave somebody who loves you is too painful and equally impossible if you have a heart.
Matisse’ text on love is there for all to read – mothers, fathers, children, lovers, friends – a moment to read and share – “Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing is stronger; nothing is higher; nothing is larger; nothing is more pleasant; nothing is fuller; nothing can be better…” “He who loves, flies, runs and rejoices; he is free and nothing holds him back”.
Here, a book that was available at an auction recently and I was quite tempted – it is one I wish I could bring home! Matisse speaking on vision and beauty, “An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm”.
When I first started to be interested in photography, I bought this book. I am so very happy to have done so as it is one of the first holography books from 1952 and not really available any longer. An American edition containing 126 heliogravures of Cartier Bresson photographs. It is probably the most extensive statement on photography: the meaning, the technique, the utility of photography, written by Cartier Bresson. The jackets and boards especially designed by Matisse and containing the famous Bresson statement that says so much about his “eye”. “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment”.
Here, two pictures Bresson shot of Matisse. On the left, in his studio in Vence, France, 1944. Matisse paints a model seated in front of him; on the right, Matisse in Jean-Cap-Ferrat, 1952, he is looking at two vases done by Picasso which echo the shape of a woman’s body. For Picasso and Matisse there were many decisive moments in their friendship.
It is Easter and today is Sunday. It is a peaceful and loving time. Kris Ruhs’ blue dove is my present that I give here to all for love and peace.