PREVIEW: Matisse Drawings

As someone interested in visual arts, Matisse has always presented somewhat of a predicament.  His works when viewed on their own have been criticized as lacking in artistic technique – harsh words to describe a world famous painter.  After taking a history of art class in which we briefly analyzed Matisse, I had to agree.  His work looked almost childish, shaky and unsure.  It wasn’t until we looked at “The Dance” that I changed my opinion.

It was the meaning behind the painting which made it beautiful… for me, anyway.  I’m sure a lot of people admire Matisse for his technique.  I, however, disagree.  I like to look at things in an almost backwards sort of way – how did the intended meaning influence the actual piece?  What did Matisse mean for “The Dance” and how does that meaning show up on the canvas?

That’s why I’m so interested in the UMMA exhibit, which opens tomorrow.  It’s from 11-5 until February 18th in the A. Alfred Taubman Gallery I.  It’s a collection of “forty-five rarely exhibited works by Matisse made in the first half of the 20th century, which reveal his process and range of creativity as a draftsman…” (according to the UMMA’s website).  Presented alongside Matisse’s work are drawings by Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015).  Also taken from the website, “Kelly selected nine of his own lithographic drawings that derive from his time in France during the 1960s, when the American artist studied Matisse’s sketches and studies of nature and human figures.”

This exhibit will present a dialogue between two artists and will hopefully provide new insights regarding the meaning of each collection.


I am a senior majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Comparative Culture and Identity and a minor in Sociocultural Anthropology. I'm an avid coffee and bonfire enthusiast with an interest in the arts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *