Painting: Distiller of Sunshine

The mark of modern art, like that of modern science, is continuous experimentation. The results often seem to aim more at style obsolescence than at great masterpieces rivaling those of the past. But as ism tumbles after ism, the greatest accolades have gone to those artists who have painted through the revolutionary styles of their times and arrived at a style uniquely their own. Few have achieved a more luxuriant signature than Henri Matisse.

A dozen years have passed since Matisse died at the ripe age of 84, at a time when it...

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