This is the first comprehensive exhibit to examine Matisse's influence on American artists from 1907 to the present. There are 19 works by Matisse and 44 works by American artists. Matisse was famous for his nudes, spare fluent lines, love of texture, design and bold color. It is fascinating what a wide net his influence cast. Let me say from the get go that the best paintings and drawings in the show are those by the master himself. Nudes in charcoal with perfect lines. "Pianist with Checker Players", 1924, an oil painting with all the detail and love of textiles Matisse is famous for. The well known, "Yellow Odalisque", 1937, with the strange large hands. What I love best about Matisse is his playfulness.
As for his followers, the net is wide. Stand outs for me, include, Walt Kuhn's "Portrait of Vera" with its strong color and outlines. Walter Pach, whose oil, "Girls Bathing" has a very Matisse feel, joyful, with colorful flat bodies romping in the water. "Spring in Central Park" by William Zorch, with deep blue outlining two nude lovers with flowers springing all around. A real stand out is Andy Warhol's "Fabulous Woman", synthetic paint and silkscreen inks on canvas, 1985. He perfectly channels Matisse with his fluid lines, and yet, Warhol's own vision shines through. He pays homage to the stange large hands.
In some cases, the likeness to Matisse is a stretch, such as George Segal's sculpture, "Girl On A Chair." The only parallel drawn is that it is a nude, and the chair is bright red. On the other hand, Patrick Bruce was Matissee's student. And his painting of flowers in a pot is totally derivitive of his teacher, and less remarkable for that fact.
Let me add that the Montclair Museum is a wonderful place with a Native American Gallery and a permanent collection of the mystical works of George Inness, who lived in Montclair at one time.
The website will be permanently closed shortly, so please retrieve any content you wish to save.