It has been said that the 20th Century began and ended in Sarajevo. Artistically the 20th Century began with Picasso's painting the Girls of Avignon which tore open the artworld's sense of itself. While Picasso was a revolutionary he was not a bridge. Henri Matisse on the other hand was such a bridge.
In the new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago Matisse 1913-1917 this key four year period in his life are examined. It was during this period when Europe was engaged in the worst of all possible wars when Matisse's style and sense became a reality. It was during this same period that the sensability that would become German art after the war was born as well.
In this exhibit we see this axial period in full flower. But it also displays something that we no longer have in the world and that is a slow growing artists dialogue. With the internet things now move very fast. This Matisse exhibit shows us that sometimes the mellowing of a few years can have a profound impact.