Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse
Matisse Picasso dispels the illusion of the great artist as self-invented, Protean giant. Yet their relationship is mostly seen as an occasion for the parlour . We are asking our US readers to help us raise $1 million dollars by. Pablo Picasso, Self Portrait with a Palette, , Oil on Canvas. Born in a . Matisse's Paintings: Most Famous Works and Periods from his Life. Matisse Picasso, an examination of the lifelong relationship between . they managed to exchange works and drew support from one another.
Abstract as it is, with its masklike face and flattened sense of space, the serene portrait contrasts strikingly, despite certain similarities in format and subject, with Picasso's Portrait of a Young Girl, done the following year. In this painting, Picasso's Cubist approach undermines the serenity of the pose. But even in opposition, as in these two portraits, the dialogue between the two artists was clear. Sometimes, however, it was more subtle.
- A momentous, tremendous exhibition
- Matisse & Picasso
One painter might look far into the other's past, taking up where he had long ago left off. There are many examples of such cross-pollination, but one of the most striking is Picasso's monumental The Three Dancers. It was done in when he was working on the sets for the great Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Matisse had done the sets and costumes for a Diaghilev ballet a few years before, which irked Picasso when he heard about it. A balcony with a big red flowerpot falling all over it!
The visual analogies are obvious: Picasso's painting, however, was utterly savage, while Matisse's retained some sense of grace. At the time, Picasso's marriage to Olga, an ex-ballerina, was failing, and he'd just gotten news of an old friend's death. The Three Dancers, like the Demoiselles, was a kind of exorcism. By the s, the two painters had drifted apart. Matisse was ensconced in a hotel in Nice painting luxurious odalisques and drawing portraits of women in plumed hats.
But even then they kept an eye on each other.
Two masters, one friendship: the story of Matisse and Picasso
In the late s Picasso fell in love with Marie-Therese Walter, a young woman almost Grecian in her grace. To paint her, Picasso found himself borrowing the more flowing lines, rounded figures and vivid colors of Matisse. For his part, Matisse continued to distill the luminosity of Nice in his paintings.
It's like a paradise you have no right to analyze, but you are a painter, for God's sake! Nice is so beautiful! Alight so soft and tender, despite its brilliance. There were moments when Picasso's portraits and Matisse's seemed painted with the same brush, if not the same hand. Picasso looked after Matisse's paintings, stored in a bank vault.
Matisse, in ill health, defended Picasso against his critics. He is living in Paris quietly, has no wish to sell, asks for nothing.
Picasso and Henri Matisse
At the war's end ina major show of their work was held at the Victoria and AlbertMuseum in London. As he prepared for this exhibition, Matisse wrote in a notebook: As I'm expecting to see him tomorrow, my mind is at work.
I'm doing this propaganda show in London with him. I can imagine the room with my pictures on one side, and his on the other.
It's as if I were going to cohabit with an epileptic. His long struggle to purify form, to make figures beautiful by making them simpler, to show essence and erase detail, led him back to the child's art of paper cutouts.
Some of these were huge, others small enough for him to manage from bed. When a Dominican priest invited him in to design a chapel in the town of Vence, he prepared some of the images for the stained-glass windows and wall decorations by cutting out paper. Picasso, too, took up a pair of shears. He made a series of sculptures that look like paper cutouts, though they are of sheet metal. And his paintings seemed to take on a Matissean simplicity of form, even a decorative exuberance.
In retrospect, one should have seen this coming. Some of their earlier paintings, like Matisse's portrait of Marguerite, had a paper cutout look. And Picasso's collaborations with Braque involved cutting and pasting paper in Cubist collages. There were even earlier hints. Matisse always drew on the weaving traditions of his birthplace, using textile patterns to subvert perspective. Picasso had learned the same trick from his father, who used cut-out paper to construct his own paintings.
It's an old, formal means for academic painters to build a painting. Cut-and-pasted paper was a way for a painter to conceptualize his work. Picasso and then Matisse took this from a low level, a hidden technique, and put it out front, on the surface, in the art itself.
And that is a major part of modern art. Matisse's daughter Marguerite and a Picasso still life. In very different ways both paintings have a flattened space, with the pitcher, bowl and lemon tilted up towards the picture plane. Marguerite is in a flatly painted viridian dress; a flat black choker encircles her neck and her name is written above her. She is on the painting's surface as much as in it, like a girl on a poster. Picasso's objects too are pushing forward, as though to break through the surface and drag the surrounding space with it.
One might see the show so far in terms of ripostes, counterings, dissimilarities, and of responses less to one another than to changes that were already in the air. The deformation of the figures and the flattening of space go hand in hand with a recognition of the painting as an object as much as it is a window on to the painted world.
Matisse's Blue Nude - big-bummed, hand on her head as though she just woke up with a fright - and a monumentally difficult, monstrous Picasso woman fromagain wiping her brow as well she might. What, you ask yourself, is happening to our images of ourselves?
One subtext of the exhibition is the question of the figure - as psychic being as well as form. It is also, mostly, a question of women, models, beings whose otherness Matisse and Picasso both, in very different ways, stood transfixed by, uncomprehending. It would be wrong, however, to see the relationship as one-way. Some things keep returning. The Harlequin is funny and scary in a way Matisse never is, but both paintings have similar formal structures and devices, and both foreground elements against blackness in a similar way.
Goldfish and Palette, like The Moroccans, his Piano Lesson and a big, cluttered still life - ostensibly after de Heems's La Desserte - are Matisse's own, belated response to Cubism, and, in the case of The Moroccans, also borrow from both early Renaissance space and Persian miniatures. The references keep on tumbling in. Sometimes, formal concordances and subjects make clear what might have only ever been somewhat distant coincidences. It is great to pair a Matisse of a violin in its open case in a shuttered room with Picasso's sheet-metal construction of a guitar.
There seem to be all kinds of links, both formal and iconographic, and the two works play off one another. But this seems to be one of those moments when a curator has put together works because it has always been a fantasy to do so, just to see what would happen. Something does happen, and that's the point, just as something happens between Matisse's bronze relief Backs and certain heavy, big-footed female figures by Picasso.
Both artists' works recall clay; both have a certain, slow-motion kind of solidity and formal simplification. They share, as it were, the same air and matter. This is also true of Picasso and Matisse's modelled figure sculptures and heads. It is more than a matter of scale and material, but of tempo. Although, of course, Picasso was to take sculpture to far greater extremes than Matisse ever would.
There are also times when Picasso brutally caricatures his friend and rival. A Matisse woman in a chair or a dancer may be wonkily drawn, hugely simplified, but her expressiveness never denigrates her.
Matisse Picasso, Tate Modern | Global | The Guardian
Picasso makes of similar poses shrieking, wilfully distorted freaks and curiously pneumatic, bulbous beings. Colour in Matisse may be intense and electric, but in certain Picassos it is raving. The dog chasing the cat under a table in Matisse's Large Red Interior may not respect animal anatomy they are subservient to other formal concernsbut the mutt in the foreground of one of Picasso's takes on Velasquez's Las Meninas is hilarious.
Both, however, know moments of quietness, and how to paint human solitude: Here, both artists are great. A Matisse wartime still life may want to remind us of plenitude, or the simple pleasure of a magnolia in a vase, a shell, but a Picasso of the same period, painted in occupied Paris, gives us a coiled, intestinal sausage, hungry knives and forks jangling out of a drawer. Who is to say which is better, more real?
Both speak of a kind of hunger. From until the end of World War I, Cubism dominated the dialogue between Matisse and Picasso, as demonstrated in a superlative grouping of eight paintings of women. In Portrait of Mlle Yvonne LandsbergMatisse employs radiating arcs to surround the figure, while in Portrait of a Young Girl Picasso pushes cubistic fragmentation of the figure much further, coupled with a bravura display of pattern and color reminiscent of Matisse.
A quartet of grand-scale compositions illuminates the point and counterpoint of influence. Beginning inMatisse moved to Nice and reverted to a more intimate, introspective, and naturalistic manner.
Picasso stayed mostly in Paris and worked in diverse styles while becoming more deeply involved in Surrealism. During his early years in Nice, Matisse often used the traditional motif of the odalisque, or harem-girl. In Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Background —26which caused a critical uproar when it was first exhibited in Paris inMatisse positions an illogically sculpted, three-dimensional nude figure against a flamboyantly colored and patterned flat background.
During World War II, while Matisse was isolated in Nice and Picasso remained in difficult circumstances in occupied Paris, they managed to exchange works and drew support from one another.