evolution of a matisse in 13 drawings


This sketch made by Henri Matisse January 7, 1940 is the first of thirteen he did in preparation for a wondrous painting The Dream completed in September 1940. Scroll down to see great artist’s process…as the painting emerges…














These from the man who said:

It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.

Creativity takes courage.

The paintings are some of the gems you can see at the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition of Matisse, In Search of True Painting. We found the images at Eric Salz’ New York Magazine illuminating commentary The Met’s Matisse Exhibit Is Intoxicating, Possibly Dangerous.


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5 Responses to evolution of a matisse in 13 drawings

  1. Pamela 02.07.2013 at 9:21am #

    I just saw that series in the small but lovely Matisse show at the Met. Oh, the deliberate marks that man could make! Meanwhile, on the subject of the documentation of process, you might also be interested in a series of drawings by the Dutch artist Theo Van Doesburg. Included in the current MoMA exhibition called “Inventing Abstraction,” the artist created a series of pencil drawings of a cow that start out as highly representational and move progressively (over 7 or 8 compositions) to the highly abstract. It is a lovely demonstration of someone who was looking very closely and critically in order to edit out the unessential. I found the studies compelling visually but also because I was aware (as the curators point out) that the whole idea of abstraction at that time was new and controversial. The show is absolutely worth a visit and is up until mid-April.

    I did both MoMA and the Met in one afternoon last week. It was not enough time at either museum of course but my brain was stimulated and that was the goal. Who needs caffeine (or drugs) when you have New York City’s offerings…

  2. Sally 02.07.2013 at 12:04pm #

    Thanks a million for the heads-up on Theo Van Doesburg. His process is inspiring even on MOMA’s website where you can see a few of the cow studies. Particularly illuminating is the idea of “looking very closely and critically in order to edit out the unessential”.

  3. Pamela 02.07.2013 at 1:13pm #

    If you go to the MoMA show, you can’t miss the supersized info-graphic that is part of the title wall. It diagrams the various connecions between painters and photographers and composers and such — all of whom were breaking ground around this new idea of abstraction. It must’ve been such an exciting time… and really, so recent!

  4. Sally 02.07.2013 at 6:13pm #

    That stunning info-graphic is on MoMA’s website as well. Knocked me out, and make we wish I’d lived in that time. What an incredible group of people working away, and so cool to see their connections to each other.
    Thanks again Pamela.
    And yeah, the stuff that it’s possible to see in one day in NYC is really something, and energizing!

  5. Patricia Griffin 02.12.2014 at 9:55am #

    Wonderful! Am making a presentation to the Advanced Ceramics Class at Alan Hancock College on the topic of “Finding Your Voice” and I will definitely refer to this. What a great visual example of a master’s work to define his own style! Thank you!

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