Elisabeth Condon on Henri Matisse

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Elisabeth Condon muses on Henri Matisse's Tea in the Garden (1919).

Condon writes: "The fleshy network of binding mechanisms—pathway, trees and fence—encircling the painting’s protagonists, reaffirmed by mysterious sunspots echoed in human or canine forms, cedes to the rhythm of brushwork, its dance of warm and cool. A canopy of leaves overhead flattens into a folding screen or painting, which leaks an inchoate, blue-green glowing substance into the idyll, a call to something wild, unknowable and necessary… Tea in the Garden’s allure is exactly the mournful luxe, calm, et volupte of time standing still, the heightened awareness that crystallizes the soughing of leaves or the sensation of sunlight on skin, the unlike associations of pure ambivalence."

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