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February 27, 1955 - Image 12

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1955-02-27

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PAGE 6

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

SUNDAY. FEBRUARY 27 1 S

PAGE. 6sr THE iCCA DAILY -\l IirA , ,IIAPY \ t 7 .1,J
MODERNIST MATISSE:
Note Continual Growth in Works of Late French Painter

I

(Continued from Page 1)
talents and the gradual elimina- one. It was the struggle to attain Even in the early 1900's when
Matisse's development and pro- tion of crudities and impurities in consistency. Matisse was being called a "wild
gress over the years has rarely his performance. In all this how- beast" by the public and the pub-
flagged or gone astray, and re- ever, the expressive theme of "Joy THE LYRIC theme of Matisse's lic press, contemporary painters
viewing this development one can- of Life" persists. There was cer- art, its austere pleasurable- were moving towards a much more
not help but be impressed with tainly drama in Matisse's life, as ness, has paradoxically always radical conception of art.
Matisse's sense of direction, his there must be in all artist's, but been the major hinderance to a George Rouault, his friend and
very deliberate'cultivation of his the drama was purely an artistic wide and full appreciation. fellow student, was only one of

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many young painters who found
their themes in the violence and
anguish of modern experience-
and Picasso was soon leading an
entire generation of artists in the
Cubist experimentation with for-
mal values which eventually arriv-
ed at a complete transformation
of the traditional representational
and expressive functions of art.
It was these movements which
by and large absorbed the atten-
tion of the avant-garde and made
the more powerful impression on
the public.
In comparrison Matisse; "The
Fauve," appeared to be rather
tame; there was inescapable
authority in his work but to the
rambunctious early decades of the
century it was too sedate.
Until the thirties, the circle of
Matisse's admirers and followers
remained fairly small.
The French, who might have
recognized, one thinks, their emi-
nently national traits in his work
were slow in appreciation and as
an interesting result, the greatest
collections of Matisse's canvasses
were formed by Americans: Ger-
trude Stein and her brother, the
Cone sisters of Baltimore and Dr.
Barnes of Philadelphia.
In the studios, Matisse's stature
was respected and his influence
always felt. He was turned to as
a standard and a stimulant but
he struck not noticeable fires. He
was perhaps too much of an olym-
pian.
In any case there has been a
very perceptible change of atti-
tude regarding Matisse since the
last war.
Whatever the complex reasons
for our modifications of judge-
ment-and maybe it was that the
war has taught us to admire the
olympians - Matisse's stature in
the general estimate has grown.
Of course, it is true that an en-
tire generation of post-war paint-
ers has discovered in his lyric line
and sensibilities for color and an-
alogy to their own intuitive ex-
pressionism.
One of the spokesmen for the
"Abstract-Expressionists" of our
decade finds that "Matisse, with
his magnificent but transitional
style, which does not compare
with Cubism for historical im-
portance, is able to rest securely
in his position as the greatest
master of the Twentieth century
" In such statements of opin-
ions, and there have been many
like them, Matisse is ofen praised
as the old master whose merit
was that he discovered lyricism in
our times and, regardless of dis-
traction-and isolation, remained
faithful to his discovery.
The term "Old Master" has
been out of fashion in modern
art since 1900. Certainly the title
was incompatible with the pace of
our times and with its insistence
on continued inventiveness and
creativity ,almost in and for it-
self.
However, at mid-century it must
be said that some of our moderns
have become "Old Masters'-per-
haps despite themselves.
For one thing they have en-
dured, and automatically their art
has taken on richness, strength
and personal distinction.
It has also taken on the histori-
cal depth, which is itself an en-
hancing quality.
Matisse has become old as an
artist, and now there is the finality
to his work, but we mean, I think,
much more when we regard him
as one of our very few "Old Mast-
ers,"
[Travel Issue

Spotlighting high-tented and
little-known tourist spots in
Europe, Africa and North and
South America, the March 27
Sunday Magazine will be de-
voted almost entirely to travel
items.
The next issue will feature
articles on athletic events
abroad, up-coming music and
drama festivals, favorite stu-
dent haunts

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