Willful Matisse

Kitaj quotes Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk: “Dare to use your own will!”

There was no painter more willful than Matisse, a strange characterization of the artist of harmonious serenity, but accurate. The Bathers in Chicago, Decorative Figure On An Ornamental Ground, The Piano Lesson—all very willful efforts. This stands opposed to my own idea that the picture should be allowed to grow into its own form, but there is a place where will and Negative Capability join, and that’s where I’m heading these days.

Henri Matisse, Bathers by a River 1917

Henri Matisse, Bathers by a River 1917

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