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THE ARTS

By John Wilner

Several excellent lithographs by Henri Matisse are on exhibit in a very inconspicuous corridor of the Boston Museum. In his lithographs, Matisse accentuates certain elements of form and composition which, in his paintings, are less obvious. In other words, when we look at one of his prints we are better able to discover just what the artist is trying to do; his paintings, though by no means cryptic, require greater exercise of critical powers.

A love of pure form and decoration, a Hedonistic lack of force, and an amazingly subtle feeling for texture can be seen in Matisse's "Oriental Woman." In "Bust Of A Girl," the artist reveals a dexterous economy of line, coupled with a type of precision which is neither rigid nor academic. Matisse is an accomplished designer; his works are carefully planned, well-executed, and are stamped with his own unmistakable individuality. His virtuosity enables him to be classed as a polished performer but his sterility prevents him from attaining greatness.

Hanging directly opposite the Matisse works are selected lithographs from a series entitled "Elles," by the deformed little maniac, Toulouse" Lautree. In many instances, the artist acknowledges his debt to Degas, with whom he spent much time as a student and from whom he continually borrowed methods of technique and presentation and adapted them to suit his own purposes. Toulouse-Lautrec, in his own right, was a genuine artist, one who delved deeply into the earthy, sometimes sordid aspects of life. His brush was strong, his eye was piercing, and in all of his work a sharp feeling of cynicism, often bordering on harshness, can be detected. I was surprised, though perhaps I should not have been, to find that he had produced such a brief master-piece of whimsicality as the "Femme-Couchee," one of the lithographs included in this otherwise sophisticated series.

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