I had the pleasure of visiting the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, which is always an incredible experience. There are always new exhibits to see as well as a chance to see some of one's favorite works of art since visiting last.
Henri Matisse, perhaps one of the most famous artists in the world, was the subject of a fascinating exhibit. The "Matisse in the Studio" exhibit pushed the limits of how one experiences Matisse's work. Having seen his artwork countless of times at museums all over the world, including visiting the Matisse Museum in the south of France, I've never quite have seen artwork presented in this unique format.
Henri Matisse was an artist who revolutionized 20th Century art. This international exhibition examines the critical importance of the objects in Matisse's studio and how they influenced his creative process and finished artwork.
The exhibit has a number of thematic sections that each focus on different stages of his career as an artist. Matisse didn't limit his work to one medium like painting or sculpture, but also did many drawings, cut-outs, collages, prints, and more. What makes this exhibit particularly fascinating is that the artwork is presented next to the objects that helped inspire Matisse's creativity and served as subject matter for much of his work. Matisse found inspiration everywhere: In sculpture, in a chocolate pot, textiles, furniture.
Below, the pewter jug served as inspiration for the painting below. You can see how the curved lines of the jug, the waviness, are imitated in the lines of the background tapestry, the woman's robe, and the actual jug he painted as a vase of flowers. As you can see in the close-up photos below, the wavy lines are not painted on, but Matisse rather scratched the paint off the surface of the canvas. This reminds me of how I used this technique in some of my artwork. You can see some of those paintings here and here.
Show above is a table that appears in the painting to the left. And below is a female torso Roman sculpture that Matisse used to create the "Formes, Plate IX" for the illustrated book "Jazz". Matisse used cut paper as its own medium. He also uses Guache paint on paper that he cut and pasted on canvas to create "Mimosa" and "Panel with Mask". The movie, "A Model for Matisse" discussed the relationship between Matisse and his longtime friend and nun, Sister Jacques-Marie. Their relationship began when she started working for him as his nurse, but later she often served as a model for Matisse's most famous artworks. The nun also helped paint the paper that Matisse used for his cutouts. The sister was instrumental in helping Matisse design the Vence Chapel (the Chapelle du Rosaire), one of his greatest accomplishments in his career as an artist. The two large cutouts were designs for the robes that the priests were to wear while celebrating Catholic Mass.
The "Matisse in the Studio" exhibit runs from April 9, 2017 to July 9, 2017. For more information, please visit www.mfa.org.
Art of the Americas. Level 3
Below is just a few snapshots I took during this visit to the MFA, some of my old favorites as well as some new favorites. Below from are some wonderful photos of Piet Mondrian's work, "Composition with Blue, Yellow, and Red," Georgia O'Keefe's "White Rose with Larkspur No. 2," Joseph Stella's "Old Brooklyn Bridge" large, oil on canvas painting, Pablo Picasso's sculpture, and his "The Bull" series completed in 1945 and 1946.
Also below are two of Jackson Pollock's incredible paintings, along with a close up shot of his drip-work, splattering, etc. and lastly, I've included a piece by Charles Sheeler titled "On a Shaker Theme" and an incredible work of art by Stuart Davis, "Apples and Jug" where he takes the traditional still-life and transforms it into his modernist universe, with elements of cubism and even of advertising imagery.
In the Contemporary Art galleries, two pieces struck me on this visit. One is Carmen Herrera's, "Blanco y Verde (#1)", Acrylic on Canvas. Originally from Havana, Cuba, Herrera studied painting in New York. The simplicity of the forms here was really striking. I love the exactness of her straight lines, and her minimal use of color. We don't know if there is a background or a foreground, and we almost lose our-self within the painting completely. Carmen Herrera recently had a retrospective exhibit of her work a the Whitney Museum of American Art a few months ago.
Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross
This powerful exhibit recently opened in March and will be on view through July 30, 2017.
“Memory Unearthed” is a very moving exhibit that provides a rare glimpse of life during the Holocaust. Holocaust Survivor, Henryk Ross took this incredible display of photographs of life inside the Lodz Ghetto from 1940 to 1944.
Henryk Ross was confined to the Lodz ghetto in 1940 and enlisted by the Nazi regime as a bureaucratic photographer taking photos for Jewish identification cards, for propaganda materials, etc. Secretly, Henryk Ross documented the horrible living conditions and persecution of the Jews under the Nazis. Ross his the photos and negatives before the last of the Jews were sent from the ghetto to the Auschwitz and Chelmno death camps. The photos seen in this exhibit survived because Ross buried the photos and negatives hoping to provide a historical record of the persecution of the Jews.
All the photos were very powerful to see. However, there was one piece of artwork that I found completely incredible and breathtaking from an artistic perspective. I've included the photo below. It is actually a modern print from an original 35mm negative, depicting Ghetto police escorting residents for deportation. The image itself and the unfortunate and horrifying circumstances in the photo are very compelling. But beyond the face value of what is happening in the photo, you can see that the negative is partially destroyed, burned, or deteriorating. From one perspective, the visual piece of artwork is quite beautiful and striking. And from another perspective, it is quite ugly, off-putting, sad, and even symbolic. This exhibit helps us Never Forget the horrors of the Holocaust and its victims of persecution and death.
Overall, this was an incredible visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. With every visit, there are new things to see, experience, learn, and explore.
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