Henri Matisse, May 13, 1913

Every decision visible in a work of art bears witness to the rejection of something else. What we see is not only the result of determined assertions—“I will do this or “I will allow this to remain”—but also the result of equally determined refusals—“I will not do that” or “I will obliterate that.” Yet there are artists who are unwilling to deny themselves anything, whose fertile minds and potent intuition present them with apparently endless alternatives, all of which demand to be explored. Pablo Picasso, Hans Hofmann, David Smith, and Anthony Caro exemplify this kind of artist. None of ...