Saturday, January 28, 2006

The road to Cap d'Antibes

In contrast to John Rewald, whose search for the sites painted by Cézanne I described in yesterday's post, the young art critic and painter Patrick Heron (1920-1999) did not go to southern France in 1949 in pursuit of landscapes – he had hoped to meet Henri Matisse in person. In the event, as Heron recalled in his essay ‘Late Matisse’, the artist was too busy to see visitors, but on Heron’s return from Matisse’s villa he came upon a familiar view and recognised the place from which Matisse had painted Route du Cap d’Antibes – Le Grand Pin (1926). Heron took a photograph, standing in the position he thought the pine trees had been seen from in the original picture. As he did this, glancing to his right, he saw “a gleam of red amongst the mosses and lichens in the wall” and after clearing them away he found a tangible trace of the artist’s painting, oxidised palette scrapings of “ultramarine, violet, emerald green and scarlet”…

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