Gagosian Gallery Shows Us Henri Matisse Before He’s Matisse

THE DAILY PIC: The great 20th-century artist began as a 19th-century painter.


THE DAILY PIC: L’Atelier sous les toits, or  Studio Under the Eaves, painted around 1902 by Henri Matisse, is in the show called “In the Studio: Paintings” at Gagosian Gallery in New York. I’m calling it (sorry) a “semiotic” picture, because it is the sign-system (sorry) counterpart that is necessary to everything that Matisse did afterward: It captures real space and real light, which means it’s what the mature Matisse was pushing back against when he went on to break down both. It happens to also be as good a post-Impressionist picture as you’ll find. Is it this little painting’s fault if Matisse went on to fry bigger – or at least other – fish? (Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 x 18 inches (55.2 x 46 cm), The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge © 2015 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery)

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