PRINT October 1968

The Sculpture of Matisse, Part II

MATISSE’S FRIENDS OBSERVED THAT sculpture served the artist by “enriching” his resources and providing another outlet for his vast energies.1 “I practiced sculpture, or rather modeling,” commented Matisse, “as a complementary study to put my ideas into order.”2 The ideas to which he referred, as discussed in the previous article and traceable to the Notes of a Painter, of 1908, included the search for finding ways of expressing his feeling for life, the nature of expression and how it was to be achieved in composition, and what constituted the essential in nature and form. It is not paradoxical that an artist who relied so greatly on instinct and sensibility should write about “ideas.” Matisse, who was a thoughtful, complex artist, favored a varied and empirical confrontation of artistic problems as well as of nature.

The purposes of sculpture were no different for Matisse than those of

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