Matisse or Picasso?

Detail from L'Atelier Rouge (The Red Studio), by Henri Matisse (1911)

Detail from L’Atelier Rouge (The Red Studio), by Henri Matisse (1911)

It’s impossible to understand European painting in the 20th century without these two painters as points of reference. One of the great pleasures painting offers is to stand in front of Matisse’s L’Atelier Rouge (The Red Studio, 1911) in the Museum of Modern Art. One of the great anguishes painting offers is to stand in front of Picasso’s Guernica (1937) in the Museo Reina Sofia.

Detail from Guernica, by Pablo Picasso (1937)

Detail from Guernica, by Pablo Picasso (1937)

Phillip Ball said in his book, Bright Earth, “All use of colour in the twentieth century must be considered in relation to Matisse.”

Picasso himself reportedly said, “You have got to be able to picture side by side everything Matisse and I were doing at that time. No one has ever looked at Matisse’s painting more carefully than I; and no one has looked at mine more carefully than he.”

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