Friday, June 30

Matisse: The Joy of Things - Claire Messud

Vase of Flowers, 1924
"Daily, I slice bread with my maternal grandmother’s bread knife. Neither beautiful nor valuable—its handle scored white melamine, its wide serrations still sharp—it connects me to my mother’s hands (that used this knife) and to my grandmother’s hands (smaller than my mother’s, arthritic already when I was born); to my grandmother’s kitchen, beloved in my childhood; and to the long-ago morning light that filtered through the sunroom into that kitchen, in a long-sold house, in a far-off city. All this is present when I take it up and tackle a loaf. No other knife will do. Matisse, unsurprisingly, had similar feelings about the objects of his daily life. They delighted, inspired, or confounded him, in their humble ordinariness and in all that they evoked: a chocolate pot, a green glass vase, a pewter jug, embroidered hanging cloths (haitis) from North Africa, masks and figurines from sub-Saharan Africa, a brazier, a marquetry coffee table, a low-slung chair. ..."

2011 December: Gauguin Tahiti, 2012 May: Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia, 2014 May: Gauguin: Metamorphoses, 2015 April: Van Gogh, Manet, and Matisse: The Art of the Flower, 2016 April: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, 2017 May: Matisse in the Studio.