Page 25 - Studio International - July August 1968
P. 25

Once Matisse invited us to his house at Issy-les-Moulineaux, the
             house with the large studio where, besides the two versions of La
             Desserte, the Red Interior and dozens of other well-known pictures, he
             painted  The Dance,  which was there at the time. Later I came to
             know the model with the glowing skin (we nicknamed her the
             Italian sunset) whom Matisse had taken south with him in the sum-
             mer and who, posing among green pines against the Mediterranean
             blue, had suggested the colour of The Dance.
              That was the last year of the 'Academie Matisse'. I returned home
             and married. It was in the year when I held my first exhibition that
             so scandalized Montreal, 1913, that the famous Armory Exhibition
             introduced Matisse to America, to the delight of us youngsters and
             the annoyance of critics and curators who then were not prone to
             recognize new genius. (Today, to live down that reputation, they
             recognize genius that has not yet appeared.)
              It was not until after the war that I saw Matisse again. On a visit
             to Nice, we found him on the balcony of the hotel room on the
             Promenade des Anglais (where he did most of his work between
             1917 and 1920) painting La Fête des Fleurs a  Nice.  In an unusually
             playful mood, he was swinging his brush in time with the band
            music. The looping brush-work did not produce a very good picture;
             he was just having fun. When we returned to the Cote d'Azur a
             couple of years later, he had moved to that spacious, high-ceilinged
            apartment with the great windows overlooking Les Ponchettes and
            the bay. We went there to pay our respects, and he showed us all
            his recent work, canvas after canvas. Words were soon obliterated
            from my mind by the sight of so much lyric splendour. Matisse must
            have understood for he did not seem in the least put out by my
            failure to exclaim. In the next few years we saw him only infrequently
            when stopping over in Paris, he appeared at a dress rehearsal or a
             He was always a great believer in regular work, and at that time
            his strict daily routine was: 8 to 9 a.m., violin; 9 to 12, model for
            painting; after lunch, a short stroll, then model again for drawing; a
            light supper, a stroll and bed, with a book (perhaps a classic or
            Mallarmé or Valery) by his bed-side in case he woke up in the night.
            The only variation was on Sunday afternoon, when he went to play
            chamber music with friends.
             But few things could distract him from his work. His hand could
            not remain 'silent' for long: soon his pencil was at play. Nature was
            his constant source and reference, no matter how much its particular
            aspects were modified to suit his general conception. While he
            worked he had the feeling that he was copying nature and that every
            deviation was for the purpose of expressing it more completely.
             There is no phase of his work that does not bear witness to this
            intention. Even in his latest painting, where his synthesis approaches
            abstraction, every form and colour chord has the ring of truth,
            awakening prolonged echoes of recognition. Untouched by the
            doubts and withdrawals that afflict the age, his art is not a refusal
            but an affirmation of life.

            The text by Isamu Noguchi, the Japanese-American   torical research and writing in Dublin and London;   Corrections
            sculptor and architect, is an edited version of a talk   Jeremy Rees,  director of the Arnolfini Gallery,   In Guy Brett's description of a recent work by Camargo
            given at the Architectural Association, London.   Bristol ;  Gordon Richardson,  a final-year post-  ( London Commentary June 1968), the sentence ...
                                                     graduate student at the Slade School of Art; and   'Where you can slide open a panel in the relief, it's to
            Gene Baro, a frequent contributor to Studio Inter-
                                                     Paul Waldo Schwartz,  an art critic for the New   reveal another light sensitive surface at a deeper
            national, is the London correspondent of Arts Maga-  Times since 1963.             level', should have read, '. . . There was an open
            zine and Art in America.                                                           chamber which revealed. . .
                                                     Dore Ashton, the American writer and critic, is a
            Robert Kudielka is assistant editor of Das Kunst-
                                                      regular contributor to Studio International.   Peter Hyde Fine Art are at 11 Old Brompton Road,
                                                                                               S.W.7, and not at 12a as was stated.
             London commentaries are by  Charles Harrison, Stephen Gardiner is an architect in private practice
            assistant editor of  Studio International;  Joseph   with Christopher Knight. He also broadcasts, and
            Masheck,  an American researcher doing art his- writes for London Magazine and other publications.
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