Klein examines ‘Matisse and Water’

John Klein, a professor in the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, contributed one of three principal essays to “Matisse and the Sea.” The monograph accompanies a special exhibition of the same title currently on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Examining the significance of the sea across the career of French modernist Henri Matisse, “Matisse and the Sea” places particular focus on his iconic coastal painting “Bathers with a Turtle” (1907-08). In “Matisse and Water,” Klein, an internationally known Matisse specialist, details the artist’s lifelong quest to paint water in a variety of modes, from realistic and local to abstract and symbolic.

In Matisse’s work, Klein writes, “water attains a metaphoric richness as a medium of tranquility that fulfills one of Matisse’s central goals for his art: that it provide comfort, pleasure, solace, and the satisfaction of beholding something that has never been encountered but seems inevitable.”

“Matisse and the Sea” is published in April by the Saint Louis Art Museum and by Hirmer Publishers. It is distributed by the University of Chicago Press and available in the museum gift shop. The exhibition remains on view through May 12. For more information, visit slam.org.

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