Art: Simple Lines

Color is perhaps Henri Matisse's chief claim to fame—he paints with colors that are as loud as a Marine band, as subtly harmonious as a Bach cantata. But "what counts most in a picture," says 76-year-old Matisse, "is drawing and composition." Last week 22 of his black-&-white pen-&-pencil drawings went on view at the Manhattan gallery of his son, Pierre Matisse. It was the first show to come out of France since the war, and it revealed the French master at his joyful best.

The drawings, made during the Nazi occupation of France, were simple,...

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