By the time you read this the show will have finished as it was only on at the RA until 12th November 2017. Matisse in the Studio it’s called, which made me slightly worried that it would be second rate sketches but instead the conceit from this show was paintings, sculptures and drawings next to some of the actual objects portrayed (like above).
Nice idea and done well. So by way of example there is a fine painting called Still life with Chocolate Pot. There is a nice gold lustrous sheen to the chocolate pot. Next to it, is the actual chocolate pot (above right). I couldn't find the actual still life but there was also a more abstract painting featuring the self same pot in red (above left).
Standing on a pedestal is an odd looking Venetian chair and surrounding the chair various sketches and paintings featuring the self same chair. In addition a decorative small table and a highly colourful portrait in which it features.
There is then an interesting room with several African sculptures and figures and the influence this had on Matisse, particularly his sculpture and there is a nice juxtaposition of an African male and female figure next to a Matisse female sculpture with some of the exaggerated features clearly influenced by the African ones (as in the above).
Similarly in the next room there are some excellent African masks (and this by the way was a major bonus of the exhibition, art from different periods and parts of the world all of it excellent) and some portraits particularly some beguiling simple line face sketches on one wall.
Continuing on where some of the furnishings from Matisse’s studio including some Arabic and Islamic wall hangings, tables and brazier. The furnishings are colourful and intricately patterned and become the stars of several paintings such as The Moorish Screen, Two Models Resting and Odulisque with grey culottes. This are all very good paintings and especially with Two Models Resting the attitude and presence of the central figures all against a colourful patterned scenery. Along with all this is a very interesting photograph of Matisse with one of the models.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.