An Embarrassment of Riches: The Shchukin Collection

Maika Pollack reviews Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection at The Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, on view through March 5, 2017.

Pollack writes: “A single room in which 13 vast Matisse paintings hang is the highlight of the exhibition. These are only a fraction of Shchukin’s 43 Matisses, but each is a knockout: In Still Life with Blue Tablecloth (1908–9), the ground rides up behind the still-life objects—a green beaker, a plate of peaches—as though the actual canvas had a bend or fold in it. The pink walls with thin bluish stripes and the salmon carpet of L’Atelier Rose (1911) play fin-de-siècle color theory with your retina at a scale that anticipates the engulfing field of a Rothko. The quirkiest of the bunch is Seville Still Life (1910–11), which features geraniums on a table but also a couch and chair covered in wildly decorative fabrics—the pink flamingos on the green sofa made me smile. Every wall here is hung with three or four of the best Matisses you will ever see … It’s dizzying.”