Saturday, September 10, 2022

Matisse's Red Studio in NYC

Click to enlarge. Cousin Ted's museum - one of the many shelves filled with antiquities. 
MOMA - Barbara Klunder makes a statement or two.
The Matisse Red Studio exhibit, the main reason I came to NYC besides seeing Ted and Henry. He painted it in 1911, when he could at last afford to design and build his own studio. He painted this for his Russian patron who didn't want it (!) so it languished for decades before being hung in a British nightclub and then eventually making its way to New York. Most of the actual objects and art works he included were assembled here. 
Still Life with Geraniums, 1910. Paintings like this are reason Matisse is one of my favourite painters, far far more than his rival and friend Picasso. They were both brilliant and far ahead of their time, but there's joy and exuberant simplicity in Matisse's work, whereas I feel macho aggression in much of Picasso. Of course, Picasso did some beautiful work. But there is nothing macho in Matisse. 
Not sure if you can see, but the way he has outlined the chair and chest of drawers and stools reminds me of how David Milne does the same thing. Perhaps Milne saw this work or others by Matisse. 
And now for something completely different: the Great Lawn in Central Park. The place is a lifesaver, a pressure cooker valve in this insane metropolis. 
I went to the Met Museum, this time touring the Greek and Roman galleries for the first time, an incredible collection of ancient statuary, mosaics, artifacts. Fascinating history of Hadrian, a great leader who presided over a time of stability and relative peace. There are many (uncircumcised) penises on display; it seems men never wore clothes in those days. I myself would love to wear any of these delicate necklaces, made of gold, onyx, carnelian, emerald, garnet, and glass, made two thousand years ago in the first century AD. One of the most important things art galleries and museums do is to remind us how human beings, from the dawn of our time here, have always valued and created beauty.

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