MATISSE AND PATTERNS. Once, when my brother Elmer and I were in college and my sister Mary was in high school, Elmer came downstairs in either a plaid shirt and striped Bermuda shorts or plaid shorts and a striped shirt. Mary expostulated with him that he couldn’t wear stripes and checks together. Elmer replied: “If Matisse can do it, so can I.” It became a family catch phrase.

Years later, I discovered that: “For generations Matisse’s family had been involved in the textile industry in northern France. He had an innate appreciation for textiles and was an avid collector of fabrics, from his early days as a poor art student in Paris.” (I am quoting from a description of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was described as: “The first exhibition to explore Henri Matisse’s (1869-1954) lifelong fascination with textiles and its profound impact on his art will open at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on June 23, 2005. Matisse: The Fabric of Dreams – His Art and His Textiles….”)

This review in the Guardian by Laura Cumming of an exhibit in 2005 at the Royal Academy noted that Matisse had “hinged curtain rods fitted in his studio the better to be able to interleave, overlap, collage and juxtapose his fabrics as well as his paintings.”

Cumming also noted that one criticism of Matisse was that “he put colour on like a dyer”.

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