Friday, August 16, 2013

Always Matisse --- Day 2/216

Walk: Cantor Art Museum (Palo Alto), Fillmore Street
Distance: 2 miles

The weather sure is nice in Palo Alto, and the Stanford University campus always impressive in its solidly rich way.  There are several important buildings - probably for important programs - under construction down there.

I went to join some SF Museums docent friends to check out the current exhibitions at the Cantor Art Museum.  There were several exhibitions of drawings.  One question I have when I see drawings is: why so many over time?  Were artists making bread and butter money with multiples or pieces they could complete relatively quickly?  Were they working out technical quandaries? Were they copying masters to learn in this fashion?  Were the drawings illustrations for books, tapestries, precious metal pieces?

Turns out the answer is - all of the above and more.

A form of drawing, sort of, Matisse's cut-outs were also on display.  You've probably seen the posters; this exhibition is of all the illustrations in his Jazz book. Where the Jazz cut outs rank in the canon of Matisse's work is debatable.  But, as always, these works celebrate his joyful color sense, quick and electric line, simplified form. They leave the viewer feeling uplifted - or at least this viewer.  Once again on seeing his art, ciwt left feeling Always Matisse.

In 1943, French artist Henri Matisse was more than 70 years old and bedridden when he began the portfolio thMatisse_Jazzat eventually became Jazz. Limited in his mobility, Matisse cut out forms from colored papers that he arranged as collages. His assistants then prepared the collages—most of which were based on circus or theater themes— for printing in the pochoir screenprint process. This exhibition features all 20 prints from the edition of the portfolio held in the Gunst Collection in Special Collections at the Stanford University Library.

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