Tuesday, closing day for many museums …. at last! On this sunny afternoon I decided to go to the Louis Vuitton Foundation which is in the zoological gardens of Boulogne near Paris. I had been told that some wonderful works of modern art were exhibited there. Picasso! Munch! Matisse! How marvelous.
So I made my way through this great mass of
glass and steel (15,000 tons of metal, twice as much as for the Eiffel Tower!). On arriving in the last room, I only just missed being noticed by a technician of the museum. And I had thought I was alone. And all these white walls! Very easy to be caught. So I hid under a bench in the centre of the room and waited in the shadows. At last, the technician left the room, rattling the heavy keys dangling from his belt.
I hardly had time to recover my senses when I heard a sweet melody ...someone was playing the violin. Where was it coming from ? There didn't seem to be anyone around! The music was coming however from a large, very colourful painting ...and yet it was under glass! How come I was hearing this music ? Mona Lisa behind her bulletproof glass at the Louvre Museum hadn't said anything to me. As I approached, I realised that the window was open : the technician had most certainly forgotten to close it! What luck! I took the opportunity to get inside the showcase. The violin was playing a melancholy aria… The painting showed in very simple shapes, colourful characters (in the original sense of the word!) : yellow, blue, green… I seemed to know this masterpiece of Matisse, but the name escaped me…
„You like it“ ? I was asked. Now that is something! The painting was talking to me. As there was no face painted, I didn't know where to look. Then I noticed that the central character, made of yellow flowers on a black background, was slowly moving. I recognized two large hands holding a violin.
„Yes, it's beautiful“ I replied.
„If I were not behind this glass plate I could give a recital !“
Suddenly, the name of the painting came to mind. It was „the sadness of the king“.
„Are you David, the biblical king?“
„This is indeed what many people think… I am so old, excuse me… I wanted to be a musician, as you can see. Have a great career… But no. I play only for my acolytes and for myself. What would you have chosen, music or painting? Well, it's too late now anyway. I am just a sad representation of myself…. My name is Henri, Henri Matisse.“ And he started to play again.
Suddenly, I heard huried footsteps in the distance. Rubber soles squeaking on the floor. The footsteps were approaching. The technician! He had returned to close the showcase ..with me inside! Quickly I left without saying goodbye to my host and ran to take refuge again under the bench. I cursed this technician who had interrupted my conversation and closed the showcase in front of my eyes.
So, this painting would be a self-portrait of the painter? What a discovery! I had not known that he was also a musician… As I scurried away I was humming the melancholy aria of the violin…
Emile, the small heritage rat
About Matisse :
About the Louis Vuitton Fondation :
About the exhibition :

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