TABLE OF CONTENTS

Matisse Drawings and Sculpture

. . . when the issue is one of knowing something, the other senses, by a certain resemblance, take to themselves the function of seeing—a function in which the eyes have priority.

Confessions of St. Augustine

I

MATISSE’S OFTEN QUOTED REMARK that he wanted his art to be “like a mental soother, something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue”1 is really the least appropriate characterization of one’s reaction to his work. Few artists have done more to discredit the idea o f esthetic perception as something passive and compliant than Matisse—for all his hedonism and easily grasped attractiveness. The degree to which his art insists on a demanding apperceptive reaction is itself almost a guideline to its quality. And yet, the quotation from “Notes of a Painter” is a reminder that for Matisse the striving after the harmonious placed a corresponding weight on what he

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