Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: I admire the work of many artists, but if I have to choose only one then I’d say Matisse. Whenever there is a Matisse exhibition in New York, I try to see it at least once. Many years ago I read Hillary Spurling’s definitive two-volume biography (The Unknown Matisse, published 1998, and Matisse the Master, 2005) and became fascinated with how his life unfolded, how Matisse struggled and overcame daunting obstacles in order to make art, and how his work continued to grow and evolve throughout his long life.
I believe that Matisse and I are kindred souls in three respects: we both came from unpromising beginnings (he from a textile family in northern France, me from a blue collar family in New Jersey), our fathers did not support our interest in becoming artists, and he famously worked in series (I am well into my third series).
Comments are welcome!
Posted on July 5, 2014, in 2014, An Artist's Life, Art in general, Art Works in Progress, Black Paintings, Inspiration, New York, NY, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio and tagged "Matisse the Master", "The Unknown Matisse", artist, becoming, beginnings, biography, blue collar, catalogue, continued, daunting, definitive, evolve, family, famously, fascinated, fathers, favorite, France, grow, Hillary Spurling, interst, kindred, late work, life, make art, Matisse, New Jersey, northern, obstacles, published, respects, series, souls, struggled, support, textile, two-volume, unfolded, unpromising, worked. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
One of my favorite artists also! I am looking forward to MOMA’s exhibit on his cut outs this fall!
Me too, Cathy. I hope all is well. I have been enjoying your blog, although I haven’t commented lately.
Matisse, for sure. My thinking about Matisse affects everything I do. Once at a show with my collage/drawings a fellow asserted I had been influenced by Serra, and I said no, Matisse. He couldn’t get his head around how I had been emulating the way Matisse kept changing things until it was right. My series had been designed so I could do that, but after many years I still can’t figure out how he new how to stop at one point rather than another. In a talk I once gave I used anumber of photographs he had taken of a painting he was making for the Cones that started out looking quite ordinary and ended up after much work looking like I’d had been just dashed off, improvised really well. My audience seemed put out that I couldn’t tell how he made his decisions.
Ken, how in the world could anyone expect you to know Matisse’s thoughts? Art historians sometimes talk like they know what an artist was thinking, but you and I know that is an impossibility.
I have many favorite artists but most of all it’s my friends and family that influence me along with my surroundings