Today's blog comes from Candace Weir, Central Library staff:
How do you enthuse about a book that is black and white, except for the cover, when it is written about Matisse, a master of colour? Matisse on Art is a new book where the artist’s language provides the colour. It arrived at the Library at the same time as the lavishly illustrated new book, Picasso and Maria-Therese: l’amour fou.
What have the two books to do with one another? I believe that Picasso owed a great debt to Matisse. It was Matisse who wrote, “The effort needed to see things without distortion demands a kind of courage; and this courage is essential to the artist…” Both artists had a great deal of courage when it came to creating bold and innovative styles of expression with paint. It was like developing a new language and having to educate the viewers.
After all, paint is paint; it is never the object it represents. Therefore, it has to be true to the artist’s vision and not the preconceptions of the viewer. Matisse worked on some of his paintings through hundreds of hours until they arrived at a stage where they spoke truly to him. I believe that slowly and methodically Matisse broke down boundaries in art.
Learning from this approach to truth in painting, Picasso explored it through a prodigious number of works. Some of the most captivating were paintings of one of his mistresses, Maria Therese Walter. They remained remarkably gentle in ways that the paintings of his other mistresses – or wives – never did. These are just thoughts, but don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.