Last weekend, while in Baltimore, I had a chance to visit the Cone Collection of early 20th century at at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Cone sisters collected paintings by Henri Matisse in the 1920's and 30's and their collection of his work is the largest public collection in the United States. i was able to see paintings face-to-face that I had been looking at for decades but in books. I was surprised by the scale of paintings (either larger or smaller than I expected), the paint thickness (Matisse thinned his paints more than I realized) and even by technique (what I had thought was paint was actually sgraffito -- Matisse used the brush handle to scratch away the wet oil paint to reveal the white canvas under the paint layer.) Who'd have guessed?
The famous "Pink Nude". Much smaller than I had expected.
Larger than I expected. Bright colors but applied in thin washes of color.
This painting was much bigger than I expected.
Which is the difference between encountering a work of art (or just about everything and everyone in this life) at one or more removes and face-to-face.