Old Matisse a Master

My reservations about T.J.Clark have been expressed on this blog, but I still like to read him, because he’s a rare art historian who actually gets it, who can feel art from the inside, not just shuffle it between theoretical boxes. Actually it’s the necessity to constantly move in and out, from the theoretical frame to the art experience, with the historical data making other complications on the way, that he suffers as the conditions of his occupation. I am under no obligation to turn those twists myself, and glad of it. Anyway, his recent review of Matisse’s cut-outs in the LRB is pretty good. But then the conclusion that it’s all about salvaging art while living its destruction is kind of anti-climactic; it’s hardly news after all. But his reading of this piece is good enough to prove that the old trope still works.

Henri Matisse, Decorative Composition with Masks 1953

Henri Matisse, Large Decoration with Masks 1953

At least it gets you where it feels.

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