Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Throwback Thursday

[Photography by Susan Sully © Houses with Charm: Simple Southern Style, Rizzoli New York, 2013.]

I've probably picked up the habit of applying the "iconic" label a bit too liberally, but when MoMA's director, Glenn Lowry, uses the adjective to describe The Swimming Pool, one of his Museum's most treasured works by Matisse, I think the word truly fits. Thanks to MoMA's major conservation project, the epic (again, Lowry's word) fifty-four-foot-long blue-and-white paper frieze made in 1952 is now a highlight of the current exhibition, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs.

When Matisse created The Swimming Pool, it blurred boundaries in more ways than one: it straddled lines between fine art and decoration, and between sculpture and painting, writes Lowry, and its subjects -- the graceful figures in the water -- splashed out beyond the white horizontal band and onto Matisse's burlap-covered dining room walls.

More than half a century later, the frieze still inspires: Today I'm looking back at designer Amelia Handegan's use of a Matisse-inspired mural. Pictured above is the painting she commissioned from Kristin Bunting for a Sullivan's Island dining room.

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