Greg Mason Burns

My Favorite Artists: The Restoration of Matisse’s Swimming Pool

Henri, Matisse, MoMA, Swimming Pool, Restoration, Art, Matisse's Swimming Pool

Henri Matisse – The Swimming Pool (1952) – MoMA

Henri Matisse has long been one of my favorite artists. This is in spite of the fact that he probably isn’t my favorite artist to study or even look at. He has probably influenced me more than any other artist. I never chose to use bold colors, but it’s certainly a strength of mine, and Matisse’s paintings, particularly A Glimpse of Notre-Dame in the Late Afternoon, absolutely helped me to understand that my use of colors works in the public eye.


When to Use Archival Materials

One thing that I’ve been concerned about is using archival materials. I’ve done a fair amount of my own research on the matter and try to work with materials that will last. This includes paint, gesso, varnish, mediums, terpenoid, canvas, paper, etc. I even paint my studies with archival products. In fact, many of my studies have ended up as original works in of themselves, so why not use archival materials from the beginning? I know work done today will not be considered archival in the future. It’s the same as with work done in the past. Technology will always get better, but conservation is still a difficult field to work in.

Matisse’s Swimming Pool

I’m always impressed with how conservationists are able to maintain, and sometimes improve, works of art from the past. I stumbled upon MoMA’s restoration of Matisse’s Swimming Pool and was completely impressed by the fact that it took the conservationist 2000 hours to remove the burlap fibers behind the paper cutouts that Matisse had originally hung on his studio’s walls. Often times they removed the threads one at a time! That’s about one year’s work just to remove the burlap. Impressive stuff. Check out the article and the video here about how MoMA restored Matisse’s Swimming Pool.