Françoise Gilot Remembers Matisse

As a major exhibition of Matisse’s cutouts is on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the painter Françoise Gilot recounts her first meeting with the iconic artist. She writes: ‘Matisse was the king of color. I first met him in February 1946 with Picasso, when he was living at his house, Villa le Rêve, in Vence [France]. I expected his house to be bright, but the shutters were pulled shut so as to let in just the smallest amount of light. It was a complete surprise, this darkness. In the first room, when we entered, there was a big cage of birds. I thought, “Poor little birds that are not allowed to see the sun.” The opposite of what you expect is always interesting.’

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