Work of Art: Matisse Window
George Bireline
Matisse Window
Acrylic on canvas
72 x 56 in. (182.9 x 142.2 cm)
Gift of Frances M. and William R. Roberson Jr.

Many of the abstract expressionist paintings George Bireline made during the 1950s and early 1960s, however abstract, include the suggestion of a window. Bireline, on the faculty of North Carolina State University at the time, recognized the window image as a means of making a visual commentary on spatial relationships. A serious student of art history, he took as his starting point the traditional idea that a painting is a window into a fictional space. His next step was to paint a picture of a window itself. Matisse Window gives off a brilliant glow but exudes an appealing calm. Simply structured, the composition establishes a sense of space.

The title pays tribute to Bireline's source of inspiration: Henri Matisse's early-twentieth-century views of Nice, France, many of which incorporate window imagery.

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