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Matisse in the South of France 10/21/2014

When I think of the Riviera, I think of Matisse. His stained glass windows in the tiny Chapel of the Rosary in Vence capture beautifully the light, the colors and the warmth of this region.

So when I read the article in the NY Times Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs...Wisps from an Old Man's Dreams , I was immediately transported to the Riviera. The Times reviews a new exhibit of Matisse's paper cutouts running currently until Feb. 8 at NY City's MOMA.

During WWII, Matisse fled Paris for Nice, but eventually needed to move to Vence for safety. In Vence bedridden after suffering from cancer, he found ways to continue creating art even though he could no longer endure the rigors of oil painting or sculpture. He cut out shapes on painted paper and had his assistants paste them onto large sheets of paper making beautiful collages. These so-called "paper cutouts" are very appealing, and many of us have seen photos of them. I was fortunate to have visited an exhibit of these in St. Louis in the 1970s. I even still have the exhibit catalog.

If you go to Vence, you can visit the tiny chapel and be bathed in the glow of Matisse's creation when the sun shines through the windows. Be sure to check the schedule to see when the chapel is open for visitors!

Do read the NY Time's article, even if you don't have a trip currently scheduled to the the Riviera (or New York!) as it gives a detailed description of Matisse's later years and thus reminds us all of the history behind the beauty of the Riviera.


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