Review: Henri Matisse ‘In Search of True Painting’ at the Metropolitan

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Henri Matisse Interior With Goldfish

“Interior With Goldfish” by Henri Matisse

There is an incredible exhibition going on until March 17  at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

“Henri Matisse: In Search of True Painting” is a true retrospective of the artist’s life and work.

Most people do not realize how much Matisse struggled with his painting throughout his career.  He constantly reworked, repainted, and was ever as one writer put it, “In search of true painting.”

You begin the exhibit with the earlier works and then proceed from room to room in chronological order through his later works.

You ride the roller coaster of his career.  You see the art critics reviews, both the good and the bad.  You read when he is heralded as the new genius and then you read that his career is over and his work is tired and finished.  And then, you see the revival of his work through the eyes of the art critics.  The ups and downs of his career through the decades are one of the most interesting aspects of the exhibit.

The most captivating paintings in the exhibit are “Interior with Goldfish” and “Landscape with Goldfish.”  I spent most of my time studying these two paintings.  They are very large works and hang side-by-side.

Another favorite from the exhibit was “Table with Apples.”  Again, this was a very large work and displayed next to “Apples” also a very large work.

Henri Matisse was one of the select few of the Gertrude Stein crew.  In fact, it could be argued that Gertrude Stein is solely responsible for Matisse having a career at all.  At the private residence of Stein, Matisse would regularly visit with Pablo Picasso and other modernist painters, poets and writers.

I have been to this exhibition twice since it opened and I strongly recommend that you go before it closes in March.  It is well worth the trip.

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