"You have got to be able to picture side by side everything Matisse and I were doing at the time. No one has ever looked at Matisse’s painting more carefully than I; and no one has looked at mine more carefully than he." ―Pablo Picasso
Hammer Galleries is pleased to present their inaugural exhibition of Matisse & Picasso, showcasing the five decade personal and artistic relationship between “the two giants of 20th century art.” Each recognized the other as his only true rival and as his greatest measure of success. The exhibition begins with two rare and extraordinary works painted just after the turn of the century, just prior to Matisse and Picasso’s first meeting in 1906. "Le guitarist debout", painted by Matisse in 1903 of his famous model Bevilaqua as a guitarist in Spanish costume, shows the artist just on the cusp of Fauvism. The powerful "Danseuse espagnole" of 1901 was painted when Picasso was just 20 years old, just before the beginning of his famous Blue Period.
Both artists were famous for painting certain women time and time again. Images of some of their most important muses―Antoinette Arnoud, Henriette Darricarrère and Lydia Delectorskaya for Matisse, and Marie-Thérèse Walter, Sylvette David and Jacqueline Roque for Picasso―are included in the exhibition.
In Matisse’s painting "L'artiste et le modèle" (1921), one of the exhibition’s highlights, the artist becomes an important part of the overall composition. Intriguingly, Louis Aragon wrote of this picture that it may have inspired Picasso's later variations upon the theme of the bearded artist with his model (see L. Aragon, Henri Matisse: A Novel, vol. 2, trans. J. Stewart, London, 1971, p. 109). Picasso’s painting "Le peintre et son modèle" (1964), reproduced above and included in Hammer’s exhibition, serves as a prime example of this theme.
Matisse died in 1954 while Picasso lived on until 1973. After Matisse’s death, Picasso’s works largely focused on the themes of the artist, the artist’s studio and the relationship of artist and model, often as homages to his friend Matisse. Indeed, Picasso’s 1965 work "Le peintre au chapeau" is believed to be a portrait of Henri Matisse.
Hammer Galleries is very pleased to present this special exhibition revealing the lifelong dialogue between Matisse and Picasso. “All things considered,” Picasso remarked, “there is only Matisse.” Matisse, for his part, said, “Only one person has the right to criticize me, that is Picasso.”
Please copy this URL into your browser to view a Virtual Tour of the exhibition: http://www.vtg360.com/0214/index.html.