On Matisse’s special friendship with his sitter
Matisse biographer Hilary Spurling describes this portrait of Sarah Stein, painted in 1916.
It’s an ethereal painting he paints really that spirit that he said he saw looking out of her eyes. The spirit that had instantly recognized his spirit– she recognized it from his paintings, and she said that what always moved her most about those paintings was their purity, their nobility, their serenity– and that is the mode in which he painted Sarah, to the outside, the naked eye, she wasn’t chic, she dressed strangely in oriental draperies, and weird colors– nothing like what the smart young lady was wearing in Paris in those days.
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