150409: Bucerius Kunst Forum GmbH: Matisse. People, Masks, Models

Bucerius Kunst Forum GmbH: Matisse. People, Masks, Models Art is beautiful, but it’s a lot of work One would think that famous modern painters have already been presented in many different – audience attracting – ways, especially since the invention of Blockbuster exhibits. But surprisingly, portraits by Matisse have been more or less neglected – both by art historians as well as international exhibition venues. But now the Bucerius Kunst Forum in Hamburg is displaying, with its proven quality, a small, precise show with high-class works of Matisse’s portraits. This lets one discover an artist, who does not have any of the clichés, which have been attributed to him. At long last, the salacious prejudice stating that the artist often made his models to mistresses is rectified. His models were oftentimes wives of friends and family members, including his daughter Marguerite. And even if one is alarmed to hear that he tended to compare the act of painting with an act of violence or even rape, this must, first and foremost, be put into perspective with references made by other Avant-garde artists, in which murder, pillage and other similarly destructive fantasies played a self-empowering role; and second, Matisse, knew how to sublimate the aggressive impulse by subjugating it to his idealistic perception of art. This brings us to the second cliché, which the exhibition attempts to rectify: Matisse is not only a superficial decorator, an attribute often made especially in comparison to this rival Picasso. Instead, he is perceived as someone who forces reality into the corset of his imagination. As a painter who increasingly abstracts from the first natural impression – with the help of role models such as antique sculptures, Russian icons or primitive idols, - he finally leads his portrait into the eternal kingdom of art. This may be the reason why his portraits can at times have the effect of being rather detached. Matisse is not nearly as interested in the expression of the person being portrayed, but much more in the expression of his own confrontation with that person. That is why he, who according to a witness of his time was “addicted to new faces”, knew how to strategically implement his portraits - especially if his work was once again in a transitional phase, this was a strategy to prove himself and his talent. And he was more than capable of doing so. By Peter Kunitzky Bucerius Kunst Forum GmbH 20095 Hamburg, Rathausmarkt 2, until 19.04.09 www.buceriuskunstforum.de

Bucerius Kunst Forum
20095 Hamburg, Rathausmarkt 2
Tel: ++49 (0)40/36 09 96 0, Fax: ++49 (0)40/36 09 96 36
Email: info@buceriuskunstforum.de
Öffnungszeiten: Mo - So 11.00 -19.00, Do 11.00 - 21.00

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