Thursday, June 3, 2010

Henri Matisse and my parents (Sam and Marina Salz).

In 1939, my mother Marina Franca(Salz) danced in the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo's production of "Rouge et Noir"("Red and Black") with costumes designed by Henri Matisse. The ballet was based on a work by Stendhal with the music of Dimitri Shostakovich. Matisse had finished his versions of the Barnes Foundation murals before he did the ballet's background which also consisted of large arches as those above the central windows of the Foundation's home in Merion, Pennsylvania.My father had known Henri Matisse and sold many of his works during his lifetime. The paintings he handled were mostly those from Matisse's middle "Nice period" which were less modernist than the earlier or later works. He visited Matisse several times when he was vacationing in the South of France. He used to tell me that Matisse would always test a color on a piece of paper, place it where he wanted it on the canvas and then after that fill it in directly with a brush. These preliminary tests of colors on paper could have lead to the painter's later cut outs with paper.In the middle fifties my parents gave Matisse's early sculpture "The Serf" to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was a fitting tribute to a great artist and a way to remember his connection with my parents. Here is a link to MoMA and "The Serf":

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