Which twentieth-century master would we rank as most influential, Matisse or Picasso? Both were potent translators of Paul Cézanne’s conceptions for later generations, each in a different way, but what about the resonance of their own work? Picasso’s audacious shattering of solid form and fearless reinvention of human anatomy made him a universally recognized eponym for modern art, but to experienced eyes, Matisse’s transubstantiation of space and mass as eloquent, economical shapes and incisive lines seems not only equally bold and fearless but perhaps also even more inventive. If we’re thinking about color, there’s no contest. Matisse turned unexpected chromatic relationships into powerful equivalents for emotion, light, and space; Picasso used color, for the most part, to separate one thing from another. Of course, if we consider both artists’ exploration of sculpture, we...

 

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