Henry Matisse I / by Yu Cao


"I was stuck by the revelations of my pen, and I saw that the mind which is composing should keep a sort of virginity for certain chosen elements, and reject what is offered by reasoning." Portraits, 1954, pp.151 

"the flowers linked with the play of clouds"152

"black, white, color, style of engraving, typography. they are never decided upon before the work is undertaken, but develop coincidentally as inspiration and the direction of my experiments indicate. I do not distinguish between the construction of a book and that of a painting, and I always proceed from the simple to the complex, yet am always ready to reconcile in simplicity."           pp.109 how i made my books, 1946

"black is a color"           1946, pp.106

"color, emotive power.""what counts most with colors are relationships. when one composes with it, like a musician with harmonies, it is simply a question of emphasizing the differences. color is never a question of quantity but of choice. Color attains its full expression only when it is organized, when it corresponds to the emotional intensity of the artist. With drawing, even if it is done with only one line, an infinite number of nuances can be given to each part that the line encloses. Proportion plays a fundamental role. When you understand an object thoroughly, you are able to encompass it with contour that defines it entirely. ... Color helps to express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that in the artist's brain. Each age brings with it its own light, its particular feeling for space, as a definite need. Today there is demand for the total possession of this space. ... Color is a means of liberation, is magnificence and eye-catching. Isn't it precisely the privilege of the artist to render precious, to enable the most humble subject?"        pp.99 "the role and modalities of color"

"the painting is not a mirror reflecting what I experienced while creating it, but a powerful object, strong and expressive, which is as novel for me as for anyone else."       pp.90 On Transformations, 1942

"My line drawing is the purest and most direct translation of my emotion. /// the character of the model, the human expression ,the quality of surrounding light, atmosphere and all that an only be expressed by drawing. ... Once my emotive line has modeled the light of my white paper without destroying its precious whiteness, i can neither add nor take anything away. The page is written; no correction is possible. ... I am like the like the dancer or tightrope walker who begins his day with several hours of different limbering exercises so that every part of his body obeys him, when in front of his public he wants to give expression to his emotions by a succession of slow or fast dance movements, or by an elegant pirouette. My final line drawings always have their own luminous space, and the objects of which they are composed are on different planes; thus, in perspective, but in a perspective of feeling, in suggested perspective." Color--a perspective of feeling "Drawing, a means deliberately simplified so as to give simplicity ad spontaneity to the expression which should speak without clumsiness, directly to the mind of the spectator." pp.81

****"models, I observe at liberty, When I take a new model, I intuit the pose that will best suit her fro her un-selfconscious attitudes of repose, and then I become the slave of that pose. ... Their forms are not always perfect, but they are always expressive. The emotional interest aroused in me by them doest not appear particularly in the representation of their bodies, but often rather in the lines or the special values distributed over the whole canvas or paper, which form its complete orchestration, its architecture. But not everyone perceives this. It is perhaps sublimated sensual pleasure, which may not yet be perceived by everyone." Architecture--orchestration/compostion of lines/values in a field--sensual pleasure--expressive "I do not create a woman, I make a picture." When the architecture/orchestration/composition of lines/values in a field is expressive, it will arouse sensual pleasure. "I do not renounce the play of values or modulations. I modulate with variations in the weight of line, and above all with the areas it delimits on the site paper. I modify the different parts of the white paper without touching them, but by their relationships. To sum up, I work without a theory. I am conscious only of the forces I use, and I am driven on by an idea which I really only grasp as it grows with the picture. As Chardin used to say, 'I add until it looks right.' Making a picture would seems as logical as building a house, if one worked on sound principles. One should not bother about the human side. If one has, it colors the work in spite of everything. "         pp.82 Notes of a painter of his drawing

the precision of architecture/orchestration/composition for sensual pleasure, emotive power, expressive quality/character, color --feeling of space, 

"a black could could very well replace a blue, since basically the expression derives from the relationships."       pp.74 The Purity of the Means

"My purpose is to render my emotion. This state of soul is created by the objects which surround me and which react in me: from the horizon to myself, myself included.  For very often I put myself in the picture, and I am aware of what exists behind me. I express as naturally the space and the objects which are situated there as if I had only the sea and the sky in front of me; that is to say, the simplest thing in the world. I think only of rendering my emotion."  pp.60

"characteristics of a drawing, depend on the profound feeling of the artist before the objects which he has chosen, on which his attention is focused, and the spirit of which he has penetrated. ... It is quite clear that this sum total of elements describes the same man, as to his character and his personality, his way of looking at things and his reaction to life, and as to the reserve with which he faces it and which keeps him from an uncontrolled surrender to it. It is indeed the same man, one who always remains an attentive spectator of life and of himself. ... It is thus evident that the anatomical, organic inexactitude in these drawings has helped to clarify the expression of the intimate character and inherent truth of the personality. ... Is it not an interpretation of the human sensibility of the person represented? Rembrandt's saying-- I have never painted anything but portraits."  pp.119 Exactitude is not Truth

****"The object is not interesting in itself. It's the environment which creates the object. ... The object must act powerfully on the imagination; the artist's feeling expressing itself through the object must make the object worthy of interest: it says only what it is made to say.""I have preserved the sign which suffices and which is necessary to make the object exist in its own form and in the totality for which I conceived it. ... I counted solely on the clarity of expression of my work to gain my ends.""I can say nothing of my feelings about space which is not already expressed in my paintings." pp. 137 Testimonial   [][][][][][][][][] means of expression, I seek means of expression in architecture, to express deep feelings precisely. Each painting is a field of finding. like Mattisse said he "studied separately each element of construction: drawing, color, values, composition; to explore how these elements could be combined into a synthesis without diminishing the eloquence of any one of them by the presence of the others, and to make constructions from these elements with their intrinsic qualities undiminished in combination; in other words, to respect the purity of the means." pp. 128 To me, architecture is a field of finding. I need to do one architecture after another to find my means of expression. I need to construct material, structure/contour, light/color, volume, composition, scale with their intrinsic qualities. I need to make these elements reveal each other, build the relationship, make the choice and organization. A synthesis will lead to emotional power. With scale, I could construct them. I have to construct them in architecture. Is a drawing or model architecture? Or is it a vision of architecture? Is a real building architecture? Where is architecture? When a scaled drawing or model achieve the completeness of information for building in reality, architecture is there. When an idea is expressed to the completeness and clarity of materiality, architecture is there. How does it different from sculpture? Scale. It is not a sculpture, or painting, or drawing, it is an architecture. Its meaning is in inhabitation-- imagine when people are in the space. Imagination of inhabiting is crucial to a work of architecture. In front of painting, or sculpture. What about in front of a physical work of architecture? That is quite similar to encountering a painting or sculpture. So a scaled drawing or model of architecture is like the sketch that expresses the character from which a painting/sculpture is created. A scaled drawing or model of architecture bears the precise expression of character as the built building. Character is timeless. The character in the drawing is exactly the character in the model, and is ready to be captured in the later painting. Thus model-drawing-painting is a reverse of drawing/modeling-scaled drawing/modeling-building. But the character is consistent in both cases of painting and architecture. If in a person, painting feels the character, where does a character of architecture come from? Feeling. What is the subject of architecture? Program. For a program, the feeling for it has to be right, for that feeling, I will construct materials, structures/skeleton, contours, volumes, color/light, composition ... I've got to construct scaled drawings and models of architecture, they are the fields for finding meaningful means of expressions in architecture. [][][][][][][][][]


"It is imagination that gives depth and space to a picture." pp.134