Swimming Pool, Matisse

Allison Meier writes about Matisse's "Swimming Pool" installed in the MOMA exhibition. Matisse created his own swimming pool late in his career. I had downloaded the images weeks before I went to see the show and was struck by the differences in viewing it as a two dimensional projects and then as a site specific project. I haven't decided if it was my bias for flatwork but I'm struck by how well it functions without the site.

When I studied Matisse's commissioned mural for the Barnes it was shortly after my first public art commission. It turned out that I had bad measurement for my project and I had to recreate two panels. Matisse too had run into measurement problems with his Dance mural for the Barnes, so I felt that I was in good company. The cutouts for the "Swimming Pool" side steps the whole issue, he found a way around the ruler on this one.

Henri Matisse, “The Swimming Pool (La Piscine)” (detail) (late summer 1952), gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on painted paper, overall 73″ x 647”, installed as nine panels in two parts on burlap-covered walls 136” high

Henri Matisse, “The Swimming Pool (La Piscine)”(late summer 1952), gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on painted paper, overall 73″ x 647”, installed as nine panels in two parts on burlap-covered walls 136” high (all images courtesy the Museum of Modern Art) 

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