PRINT September 1968

The Sculpture of Matisse, Part I

IF MATISSE WAS SURVIVED BY only his sculptures he would have to be regarded as a major artist, not because of influence, but rather for the intrinsic excellence of his works. The great retrospectives put on recently in this country and currently by the Arts Council in England have given these sculptures a greater exposure than during the artist’s lifetime. Paradoxically, it is the late cutouts such as the large Snail in the Tate Gallery and not Matisse’s modeled forms which today seem most prophetic and relevant to those artists in England and America who look upon sculpture as flat colored planes to be joined in variable relationships. While Matisse recognized important analogies between his sculpture and painting, at the end of his life he did not see the paper cutouts (whose sculptural possibilities he recognized) as a substitute for his earlier views of what sculpture should be. His

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