Frank Auerbach on Henri Matisse

"White and Pink Head is a tautly organized image, which makes every inch of paint part of one dynamic entity, coherent as a whole thing, but continually surprising as to placing and proportion. Although laid on in blatant, uninflected areas, it evokes a delicate apprehension of real matter in real space. Although it seems to be brutally geometrical, it resolves itself into a tender image of a specific, loved young woman - it depicts Matisse's remarkable daughter Marguerite, who looks back at us with a gaze as direct and human as the gaze of Rembrandt in his self-portraits. To miraculously hold together contradictions and incompatibilities is a good definition of art."

Above: Henri Matisse, White and Pink Head, 1914-14, Oil on canvas

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