Henri Matisse, Asia, 1946
Pedigree ponies have tawny gloss hair. She made me think of this, to see her voluminous hair cantering as she came through the crowd - all gloss but snap, snap, snapping impatiently for a peach Belinni - as though life owed her this. She is unimaginably tall and slender, so perhaps it is no surprise that she had spent a lifetime gazing downwards. The poor female underling standing to the other side of the bar, made like stone as though snared into Medusa's gaze. We seem to betroth egos of mythical measure on these narcissi from the lake; the "beautiful and damned" in the words of Fitzgerald. Engineered with implausible biometrics, pert and perfect derrieres at the height of my button nose.
Rubbernecking and star-struck were most of the ticket holders, who had paid a few hundred for the privilege of attending an illustrious art gala. Most of them from Mayfair Hedge Fund firms, muddling in art circles and flirting with the purchase of a canvas. A clear goldfish bowl; life through a lens at the monied and celebrated.
I took respite at the silent auction desk when I should have been mingling; for those killer heels "do kill". Just as a motor racing boss placed a bid for the "lot" of life-drawing classes at the art school for his wife. When sliding sluggishly from my side view up to him, was the debauched ex-wife of a rockstar. Like a constrictor, she started to wind herself around his slim frame, squeezing breath and blood upwards with incessant requests for VIP passes to that summer's Grand Prix. His geniality gave way to erupting frustration, as I moved away, looking past them both, over his shoulder at a small figure, head to toe in black. A person I least expected to reside quietly in a corner - Blondie herself; Maria with a Heart of Glass and Atomic radiance. Studio 54 blonde hair and Factory fun body - at her height, wildly attractive and alluring.
But she stood now, stillness and composure; there can be mercy afterall, for the celebrated few.
I would love to own this Matisse painting, put with words as a small window into my time as a Fundraiser for an art gallery - a really fascinating time and a job I loved. Please share your window with me : )