Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Matisse: A Travelling Man

Matisse            Photo:  Carl Van Vechten 1933
A short while ago, a group of my artist friends and I eagerly took in Henri Matisse:  A Celebration of Light and Line at the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) which is showcasing over 170 pieces.

The work spans over 50 years of Matisse's career with the earliest print dated 1900 to the last created in 1951.  The traveling collection originates from the home of the Baltimore Museum of Art's world-renowned Cone Collection.  Some pieces are being shown for the first time in this very exhibition!

The majority of the work emphasizes printmaking: colour prints, etchings, monotypes, aquatints, dry points, lithographs, linocuts, and wood cuts showcasing an amazing economy of line.  Sprinkled throughout the gallery are hand-made books, paintings, sculptures and drawings.  my friend, Linda, and I are especially intrigued by the unbound books of poetry guarded under glass.  How desperately we want to pull them out from under and fondle every leaf!

Later that same evening, touring curator Stephanie D'Alessandro mesmerized the audience as she recounted the artist's process and methods.  She spoke with such passion about her "boyfriend" Matisse that the hour flew quickly.  We were thoroughly inspired by the theory of succession in The Bathers and The Back!

If you have an opportunity to see the collection please do.  It is well worth it!  We plan on taking in the show again.

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