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Matisse and Picasso, considered as two of the great painters of the 20th century, have often been treated as rivals, precisely for this reason. Similar in their audacity but profoundly individual, both artists silently admired one another for remaining susceptible to the artistic climate of the epoch: «There was a moment of new acquisitions. Fauvism, the exaltation of colour, precision of drawing owing to Cubism; visits to the Louvre and exotic influences through the Ethnographic Museum in the old Trocadéro area; all of this contributed to the landscape in which we lived, travelled, one that we all had emerged from» (Matisse, 1952).

Despite the fact that both artists were aware of each other’s artistic careers, which led them to strive towards radical simplifications in a form of emulation, they did not copy one another. The challenge was to invent even more: «A painter’s studio should be their laboratory. Our profession does not consist in imitating, we invent. Painting is a riddle». (Picasso, 1945)

Warnod, André, « ‘En peinture tout n’est que signe’, nous dit Picasso », Arts, 29/06/1945

From the Second World War onwards, the artists became closer and the exchange of paintings multiplied before they began to exchange words: «Nobody has ever looked as closely at the paintings of Matisse as I have. And he, of mine…», Picasso told Pierre Daix

Daix , Pierre, Picasso créateur. Paris, Seuil, 1987






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