Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sight lines

Having moaned so bitterly about not being able to see the Manet exhibition, it’s only fair to say that the Matisse exhibition Pairs and series (do we only go solo exhibitions by artists whose names start with M?) was perfect. The reason was that the Pompidou allowed fewer people in at a time and the half hour wait was worth every second for the space in the galleries. 

The other treat was a rare one these days. The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg was a major lender and it turned out that a number of their works were not glazed. So let’s forget the nonsense about how new museum quality glass is all but invisible. It may be close to invisible but it also flattens out the paint. This was particularly obvious in this deeply satisfying and intriguing exhibition built around the simple idea of direct comparison. 

How the poor people who had dragged their sorry butts all the way to the Hermitage this month felt about missing out on so many great works by Matisse was something we decided to ignore. 
Image: plenty of room to view two 1910-11 Matisse works from the Hermitage Museum