As a follow-up to this week’s Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs post, here is another valuable resource for learning about art: The Modern Art Notes podcast. This weekly one-hour podcast has been produced since 2011 which means there is a deep archive ready for exploration. Each episode focuses on one artist or exhibition that is currently on view in the United States, and is often split into two segments offering different perspectives.
A recent episode on the Matisse: Cut-Outs show includes a segment with MoMA Senior Curator Jodi Hauptman, who helped organize the show, and a segment with Washington University art historian John Klein, a Matisse expert. Here are two new facts I learned about Matisse’s process:
Photography was an important tool in creating the Cut-Outs. Remember how Matisse would rearrange wall compositions over long periods of time? Each iteration was photographed so that he could contemplate the relationships between forms and color.
Drawing was also critical to the Cut-Outs. Matisse would draw a form over and over and over until he knew it so well that he could just cut it straight from paper with scissors. Drawing helped him develop muscle memory for shapes, enabling him to “carve” those precise shapes into reality.
Want to know more about Matisse? Listen to this episode in which art historian Serge Guilbaut discusses a previously unpublished (and extensive) interview with Matisse from 1941. Modern Art Notes is a smart and thoughtful way to spend an hour once a week; subscribe for free via iTunes or Soundcloud.