Sunday, January 11, 2009

Can They Draw: From Picasso to Matisse

EBA-Evidence Based Art Critique

It was in a BBC documentary a few years ago about the Turner Prize when the obvious question was asked: "Can xxxxxx xxxx (one of the nominees that year) draw?" The art experts participating in the discussion were all artful dodgers who managed not to give a straight answer.

A couple of years back I was in The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and saw their famous Matisse collection amongst a host of other treasures.


The Dance Hermitage St Petersburg

Matisse’s poster-like presentations led a few fellow travellers to ask the same question: Can Matisse draw?

Picasso is one of the artists that I have featured on this blog.

Juggler with Still Life 1905 NGA

Yes I am a great fan of Picasso but if anyone should ask me that same question of Picasso, I know what my answer would be and I would produce my evidence.




Earlier this year I was visiting some old school friends in Washington D.C., where in a few days time the world's media will descend to witness history in the making: the inauguration of Barack Obama.



National Gallery of Art Washington D.C.

At the National Gallery of Art (NGA) there, the answers to both the Matisse and Picasso questions can be easily found.

For the occasional museum visitor Picasso may be synonymous with cubism and paintings like this one:




The NGA had these as well.



Picasso Family of Saltimbanques, 1905


Tragedy, 1903

Read more about these here and here.

Now Henri Matisse:

We saw the paper cut-outs:

Mmmm: Can Matisse Draw?

Then we saw these paintings by Matisse:


Lorette with Turban, Yellow Jacket., 1917


La Coiffure, 1901

Can Matisse draw?!

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4 comments:

Jobbing Doctor said...

I saw a number of these paintings when the Russian Exhibition came to the Royal Academy, including that marvellous dancing Matisse.

Yes, they can draw. Of course they can draw.

It is just that some of us are too unsophisticated to appreciate what they are trying to convey.

Amelia said...

Of course they both can paint and draw. Especially Picasso, every time I think of him, I think of the "First Communion" and the "Science and Charity". Picasso is the greatest of the greats, no doubt about it.

Am Ang Zhang said...

JD and Amelia,

We all know that. But I know who couldn't!

Amelia said...

I know Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst cannot paint and draw, it is so easy to say I have destroyed all my art work. Anyway, the irony is lots of people would like to spend their millions on them. Some mothers do have them....... Sad world.