Can You Match These Paintings To The Artist? | TheQuiz
Competition. Rivalry. Respect. Admiration. Bandit. All of these words were once used by both Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso in recognition of. works by Picasso and Matisse, is back in Paris for a blockbuster show. As a devout Old Believer, Shchukin was troubled by nude paintings. Use this online quiz to test your understanding of the life and artistic career of Matisse's life; Fauvism; Examples of Matisse's paintings; Later art and success.
Two masters, one friendship: the story of Matisse and Picasso
Matisse was born in a northern district of French Flanders ininto a family and region steeped in the weaving of brightly colored textiles. He had gone to Paris to study law, later taking up painting on the sly, attending art classes before and after a day's work as a law clerk. He was 22 years old when he determined to become an artist, ready to copy the old masters in the Louvre and keener still to capture Parisian life on paper and canvas.
His father was a painter, and the baby's first word was said to be "pencil. As biographer Patrick O'Brian writes, when Picasso's father could teach him no more, he "handed his brushes over to the boy. By then he could draw like Francisco Goya and El Grecobut there were furies in him that demanded something else.
Matisse was the leader of the "fauves," or "wild beasts," as they were known, for their use of "brutal" colors. It is an idyllic scene of reclining nudes, embracing lovers and carefree dancers.
Nothing like it had ever been painted, even by Matisse. Picasso understood this at once and took it as a challenge. It was greeted, recalled Matisse's first dealer Berthe Weill, with "an uproar of jeers, angry babble and screaming laughter. Picasso might well have had this canvas in mind when he said, years later, In the end, everything depends on one's self, on a fire in the belly with a thousand rays.
That is why, for example, Matisse is Matisse. He's got the sun in his gut. Soon after seeing Le Bonheur de vivre, he set to work on his most ambitious and startling painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.
It began as a tableau with a sailor surrounded by five prostitutes, all surprised by a student holding a skull entering stage right.
It ended with just the women, their stares directed straight out at the viewer. As Picasso worked, he simplified, reducing the faces to crude masks, the bodies to fragmented fetishes, imbuing the canvas with a power both primitive and unimaginably new.
None of this came easily or quickly. As Picasso was struggling with his Demoiselles, he was jolted again by Matisse, who exhibited his shocking Blue Nude in With this new painting Matisse was stepping on Picasso's toes before Picasso could even put his foot down.
The Steins grabbed up the Blue Nude, with its misshapen some critics said "reptilian" figure reclining against a decorative background of palms. Pach later gave this account: I don't understand what he is thinking.
If he wants to make a design, let him make a design. This is between the two. Matisse had shown him an African statue he'd bought.
Conversations: Rivals or Friends? | Matisse and Picasso
Then Picasso went to the dingy ethnographic museum in Paris, the Trocadero, with its collection of primitive artifacts. It smelled like a flea market, but it opened his eyes to the magic of masks and fetishes. Suddenly, "I grasped why I was a painter.
All alone in that museum, surrounded by masks, Red Indian dolls, dummies covered with dust. The Demoiselles' must have come that day. British art historian John Golding, writes: It remains the most significant single twentieth-century painting. Matisse was horrified, along with the others who came to see it in Picasso's studio.
The painter Georges Braque almost choked, Vollard recoiled, Leo Stein laughed and Picasso, frustrated and hurt, eventually took the canvas off its stretcher and put it aside without exhibiting it.
Matisse wasted little time in painting an unflinching response - his Bathers with a Turtle. It's a painting that truly set the two painters apart, even as they drew on the same sources. Paul Cezanne was everywhere in Picasso's painting, especially in its geometric fragmentations. As commented by one art historian: Picasso is understanding it as decomposition, and Matisse is understanding it as composition.
Both Picasso and Matisse had viewed a collection of Paul Gauguin woodcuts inand his South Seas primitivism showed up in woodcuts they both made soon after. Both Matisse and Picasso were looking at anything that would help them break with the past.
Picasso was completely fascinated by photography, and Matisse said he used photographs to get over his academic way of drawing. They used images from erotic cinema meant for voyeurs, not painters. The question of line, of composition, was secondary, although the distortion, the perversion of line, was very important to them. It was a game with form, with figuration. In the autumn ofMatisse and Picasso had agreed to swap paintings. As Gertrude Stein tells it, each painter selected what he considered the worst example of the other's new work, as if to reassure themselves.
Two masters, one friendship: the story of Matisse and Picasso | Tate
It was said that Picasso hung the Matisse in a room where his friends threw fake darts at it. And Picasso's painting held a joke for Matisse as well. A short time before the exchange, Matisse had been attacked in the press for a still life of his own. Picasso's lemon was even flatter than Matisse's. Moreover, Picasso's still life, made at the same time as the Demoiselles, is a clear leap into Cubism.
It's like an emblem, showing each other that they understand each other's program. It's like the first key to understanding them. When Picasso's friend Braque sent a group of his own new paintings to the Salon d'Automne inMatisse was one of the jurors. A critic heard this and baptized "Cubism" in the press. At the same time, though, Matisse took his most important collector,a Russian textile czar named Shchukin, to see the Demoiselles in Picasso's studio.
It was an act of great generosity on Matisse's part. Picasso plunged into Cubism with both feet, collaborating in the beginning with Braque.
Matisse's response can best be seen in one of his most beautiful paintings, Portrait of Madame Matisse made inin which her face appears masklike. Picasso was sick that summer and Matisse visited him often.
In Picasso's studio, he saw a white African mask hanging near the portrait of Marguerite he had given Picasso. Of Madame Matisse's portrait, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire said Matisse had reinvented voluptuousness in painting. 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. 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. I mean, though he was married, and though he had children several times, he lived outside the strictures of conventional morality. And therefore he could construct his own social life, because you know Madame Picasso was not such an important deal, and the kids were not such an important deal. What was important to him were the informal friendships of dealers, collectors, critics, friends, and hangers on.
Matisse, like all artists, has moments of confidence and then moments of doubt. And that has a lot to do with modernism. And there was a monumental clutch, and a fear of failure, and of not knowing where you were going.
Can you imagine how irritating that must be? It seems to me that you have to overcome your misery by fighting back, which I think is exactly what Matisse did.
Why did Picasso pick on Matisse? Who else is there to pick on? Why pick on Matisse? A little bit because he really is greater than anybody else anyway.
I mean, who do you engage? And you know, when you engage somebody else in that way, it means that you need it too. You need that engagement.
And clearly Picasso felt as if he himself had gone through a kind of eclectic and formless decade. And so, the two of them did need each other.
Each of them thought that the other was a giant. It makes you stronger. In some ways, Picasso was bored, and he wanted Matisse back in the ring, and he wanted to find a way to get the old man out of his den.
It would be much more interesting. And the dialogue continued for the next twenty-five years… Rick Brettell: