PRINT May 2007


WHAT IS IT ABOUT MATISSE the sculptor that he should be forever haunted by the specter of Matisse the painter? Matisse is, to my mind, one of the most important (and modern) sculptors of the first half of the past century. Yet he has never been thought so—in part, perhaps, because he was not exactly boastful about this side of his production. Accordingly, the two major American exhibitions that have during the past twenty-five years concerned themselves with his sculpture have not quite seemed content to let it stand on its own, instead framing it in relation to his work in two dimensions. This is immediately evident even in their titles. The first, “Henri Matisse: Sculptor/Painter,” was curated by Michael P. Mezzatesta at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth in 1984; the second, “Matisse: Painter as Sculptor,” a major traveling exhibition, opens next month at the San Francisco Museum of

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