Details 2: Matisse’s glass

Every time I get to the Museum of Modern Art my favorite place is the gallery of paintings by Henri Matisse. He always amazes me. I always find something new. This time, one of those things was just a small item in The Red Studio, 1911:


This is an amazingly advanced work, 104 years old. I’ve seen it perhaps three dozen times. But I think I got caught up in the overall idea of the composition, never looking at the details. Never seeing that goofy wine glass in the lower right:


Looks like something from Walt Disney. How did Matisse manage to get something so funny into what I’ve always thought of as a “serious” painting?

Then, a little bit later at MOMA, I was looking at Gilbert & George: The Early Years and ran into another goofy glass:


That was a “wow!” moment of recognition. And then, back at home, I came across this glass that I bought at an art student sale back when I was a student at Portland State, about 1971:

My Matisse glass

Goofiness comes in threes.



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