Grey Room

By Means of the Line: Meyer Schapiro and Drawing as an Epistemological Tool

Jérémie Koering, Huckle Nicholas

Meyer Schapiro. Matisse qui pisse, 1933. Meyer Schapiro Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.


In February 1932, Meyer Schapiro sent the collector Albert C. Barnes a recently published issue of the journal Androcles that included Schapiro’s review of the Matisse retrospective that had taken place at the Museum of Modern Art the previous year. A reading of the text that Schapiro published in Androcles provides nothing that might explain what provoked Barnes’s anger. The examination of Matisse’s work in the article is essentially formalist, and in no fundamental way does it go against the aesthetic criteria (the “plastic values” and the primacy of experience) that formed the basis of Barnes’s approach in The Art in Painting (1925) or in the work that he, along with Violette de Mazia, was to devote to Matisse in 1933