Memories of Matisse

Art has always been a staple of my life. When I’ve travelled, no matter where in the world, I have had opportunities to appreciate the masters. And over the years, I’ve found that art helps me turn back time, as it were, to reflect on the different places and people I was with while discovering it.

As a creative person, I’m in awe of how artists choose to capture their subject matter with such attention to detail. Monet, Rembrandt and Sargent are a few of my favorites, and of course the spiritual work of Michelangelo. Artwork transports me and reminds me of many wonderful memories that are attached to a time and place. So does the act of visiting a gallery. For example, I fondly remember my first New York visit with my parents to the Museum of Natural History, where my Mother insisted that my dad and her three boys wear suits and ties. Mother was all glammed up, too, and made it a point for us to appreciate the “experience” that both the visit and the art provided.

That said, yesterday while in New York I visited MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, for the last week of the exhibit Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. I was no stranger to Matisse’s work, so when I read about the exhibit in the New York Times I grabbed a friend and scheduled a day to visit.

Back in 2002 I visited the Chappelle du Rosaire in Vence, France, with my comrade Edward. This little chapel is known as “a masterpiece of sacred art” and was conceived by Matisse between 1948-1952. Matisse himself considered it to be his best work, his self-proclaimed masterpiece. Truth be told, I was in awe of his simple lines and powerful use of vibrant colors.

This trip will forever hold a special place in my life, as Edward passed in 2005, leaving many wonderful memories and a void in the universe I call LIFE ON MAR’S. His spirit forever vibrates in my heart as a constant reminder of that special time and place when I first discovered Matisse in Europe. It was Edward who said to me “You are so talented; don’t waste your life doing something you do not love.” His wisdom would prove that his divine, short but meaningful life would play such an important role in not just my life, but also the lives of the many people he touched.

Yesterday’s visit brought back a deep connection to memories of my past. It’s been 13 years since I witnessed Henri Matisse’s work, and here I was again up close and personal. My life has changed in so many ways since that first encounter, but one thing has remained the same: my appreciation for his work. You see, no matter where life takes me, somehow masterful work of art – regardless of the medium – will always transport me back to those core inner memories of a time and place in my life.

They say that art increases in value; I say the memories do, too. Today more than ever I value each and every moment spent in a museum because it acts like a passport to visiting moments in my life. And now this week’s visit to MoMA has become a cherished memory, too, and a new stamp in my passport.