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Matisse's lament

Post #1319 • March 31, 2009, 3:01 PM

In a letter to Bonnard, January 13, 1940, from the excellent catalogue of the Bonnard show currently up at the Met:

My drawing suits me because it renders what I specifically feel. But my painting is hampered by the new conventions of flat areas of color, which I must use exclusively to express myself, with local tones only, no shadow or surface relief that might react on each other to suggest light and spiritual space. That hardly suits my spontaneity, which makes me discard a time-consuming work in a minute because I reconceive my picture several times as it's being painted without really knowing where I am going, relying on my instinct. I've found a way of drawing that, after preparatory work, has a spontaneity that releases just what I feel, but this method is exclusively for me, as artist and as viewer. A colorist's drawing is not a painting. One must produce an equivalent in color. And that's what I'm not managing to do.




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