PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston April 2024

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W e so adore parlour games. Beyond the intriguing info that might be gathered, it's a lifesaver when dinner-party chatter turns into an extended pause or veers into politics. Here's one we love to pull from our quiver of queries: "Who do you dream of doing your portrait?" The artist — living or dead — can work in any medium, from painting or sculpture to photography. We approached some of our favorite personalities with this hypothetical. Some took the assignment to heart and sent back thorough, insightful answers. Others, fluttering away to their next cocktail soirée, offered a quick and witty réponse. We adore them all. game By Catherine D. Anspon with Billy Fong Matisse's Portrait of Greta Moll, 1908, at National Gallery, London, England. R EBECCA RABINOW, director of The Menil Collection; decades- long curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; under her Menil watch, exhibited under-recognized women artists from Chryssa to Ruth Asawa (up now at Menil Drawing Institute). "Many years ago, as a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I helped organize an exhibition focused on Henri Matisse's interest in textiles. A preparatory research trip included an afternoon at the artist's foundation, which operated from Matisse's former Paris apartment overlooking the Seine and Notre-Dame cathedral. As we were sorting through a trunk of fabrics that Matisse had kept in his studio, his grandson went to the closet and pulled out a white fur coat. I immediately recognized it from various artworks. He insisted that I try it on, and wouldn't you G ARY TINTEROW, director of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; scholar of 19th- and early-20th- century European painting and sculpture; the force behind the MFAH's dazzling Kinder Building and Sarofim Campus. "One of my most prized possessions is a portrait silhouette of me by Kara Walker that she gave to me. But if I were to transport myself to another era, I would sit for Nicholas Hilliard or Anthony van Dyck." W ILLIAM CURTIS, founding p r i n c i p a l o f c l a s s i c a l architecture firm, Curtis & Windham Architects; founding board member, Texas Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art; recipient of ICAA Arthur Ross Award, Palladio Awards, and multiple John Staub Awards; watercolorist. "I would go with John Singer Sargent and request a watercolor portrait. Unlike typical oil portraiture, watercolor is a fast and loose medium that results in many happy accidents. We might all benefit from the lightness, brevity, and clarity of beholding our own image in watercolor." NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, WASHINGTON, D.C. (Continued) know, it fit perfectly! Everyone in the room agreed that if Matisse had been present, he would have insisted on drawing my portrait. I wonder what the drawing might have looked like." Portrait Parlour From top: John Singer Sargent's Sir Neville Wilkinson on the Steps of the Palladian Bridge at Wilton House, 1904-1905, at National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Anthony van Dyck's Portrait of Pieter Soutman (detail), 1628, at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. 38

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