On the occasion of the exhibition Matisse: Doubles and Variations on view at the National Gallery of Denmark, Cohenphagen (through October 28 - opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York on December 3), Franklin Einspruch makes an observation about Matisse's technique: "underpainting. Specifically, grays. The colorist of the century worked his magic on a template of grays."
Robin Greenwood considers "an important and relevant question to ask (time and again) about abstract art: what does distinguish it from design?" He continues: "Matisse's late work does contribute quite prominently, if not iconically, to a certain strand in the conjunction of modernism and abstraction which blurs the distinction between art and design, and more specifically between abstract painting and the decorative and applied arts... I’ve always considered Matisse’s greatest contribution to art not his colour, which is undoubtedly exceptional, but his inventive painterly architectures reasserting what [painting] does (what, in a way, it has always done), what it delivers, by the act of continual reinvention; finding yet more new ways to keep it alive – and of course, keep it keenly separate from design and the applied arts even when in the act of using elements of those very disciplines to elaborate and enrich the spatial structures of his painting."
Deborah Barlow blogs about the "effort filled effortlessness of Matisse." She adds her thoughts to Sebastian Smee's recent profile of Matisse's Petit Interieur a la table de Marbre Ronde at the Worcester Art Museum.
Barlow writes that Matisse's painting "confronts the mystery that is at the core of [his] oeuvre. His signatory effortlessness was anything but effortless. That ease and flow was hard won." She concludes "...art making can be the way we possess the qualities we don't embody easily, to evoke moods, auras and existences that are vastly different from the ones we inhabit."
Tyler Green writes about the impending move of Henri Matisse's site-specific painting The Dance to their new building in Philadelphia.
Green cites several sources in depth including Teriade, Dorothy Dudley, and Jack Flam to provide an account of Matisse's thoughts on The Dance and his considerations of how it would be viewed at the original Barnes Foundation building.
Green quotes Matisse from an interview with Dorothy Dudley: "[M]y decoration should not oppress the room, but rather should give more air and space to the pictures to be seen there... I saw that the surface to be decorated was extremely low, formed like a band. Therefore all my art, all my efforts consisted in changing apparently the proportions of this band. I arrived then, through the lines, through the colors, through energetic directions, at giving to the spectator the sensation of flight, of elevation, which makes him forget the actual proportions, much too short to crown the three glass doors - with the idea always of creating the sky for the garden one sees through the doors."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.