Henri Matisse, the great/famed master of Fauvism at the turn of the century (19th to 20th Century), made the following exclamation about his painting process: “I am unable to make a service copy of nature; nature must be interpreted and subjected to the spirit of the picture. When I have worked out all my tonal relationships, the result should be a living harmony of colors, comparable to that of a musical composition.” (Henri Matisse, ‘Notes d’un painter’, in La Grande Revue, 1908)
Let’s turn our collective gaze toward this artist’s studio. Matisse became very comfortable working in his studio and driving the painting process to its logical conclusions within his perspective. Matisse was after expression. He did not distinguish between his feeling for what he eyes saw and his need and desire to fix that image into visible form. Matisse recognized from an early stage, each painting was a unique set of circumstances and aesthetic experiences. Such a belief automatically bequeathed to his paintings and sketches a quality of originality and singularity!
In the studio, and outside when he was so inclined to work in the fresh air, Matisse sought that emotional moment when his hand would move with a light, gently flow unencumbered by any resistance. Matisse sought the “naturalness” of a joy-to-life in his physical effort to make marks on paper or canvas. He responded to the joyousness of Spring and the refreshing renewal of life through light!
What are your thoughts on Matisse’s vision of his studio, the place where his “art happened”, as he shares his most cherished space with the viewer so many years later of having fixed his image in immortal space/time?