I’m fairly new to BBC iplayer. This is probably as most of the TV art programmes I watch are on Sky Arts, but there are some interesting arts programmes on BBC, particularly on BBC4. Recently there was a two-parter called The Riviera – A History in Pictures.
In the second part, there was an interesting bit about Matisse in Nice. He arrived on Christmas Day 1917. It was cold and it was rainy. He thought about returning to Paris but instead set up his easel and painted his hotel room.
However, the mistral blew the clouds away. “It was beautiful” said Matisse and he never left Nice. After the war he moved into an apartment overlooking a market square in the oldest part of the city. The apartment was his home for the next twenty years.
The TV programme then went on “During that time [Matisse] dedicated himself to his art with an extraordinary intensity. He was rigidly disciplined and his routine began at dawn. As the market came to life, he walked from his apartment to the Club Nautique where he set out into the harbour in a small canoe. Matisse was always properly dressed for the job in hand. At his easel he wore a white overall and in his canoe he wore a jaunty sailor’s hat. he earned a medal from the club for assiduity.
“After two hours at the oars, he returned to his apartment to practice the violin until the serious work of the day began at nine. He painted for three hours and he expected the same single minded dedication from his models who were often expected to hold the same pose all morning. One lapse was tolerated but if they lost a pose a second time they were sacked.
“After a lunch at a nearby cafe, he returned to the apartment for a nap and on waking he dealt with his correspondence, writing letters to his family and friends. At 4 pm, he picked up his brushes and once more and continued to paint until daylight failed. He would then draw by artificial light before heading out into the old town for dinner. He followed this schedule six days a week.”