a faux pas expose’
in gouache, fuchsia and Parisian blue
painted paper cut-outs applied with glue, askew
Matisse would roll over in his grave if he knew
that they hung his painting upside down
‘twas the talk of the town
A Trois-par-Huit for NaPoWriMo 2018 – Day 30 Prompt: write a poem that engages with a strange and fascinating fact. I chose Art History and the story of the Matisse painting that hung upside-down in the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1961.
Le Bateau caused a minor stir when the Museum of Modern Art, New York, which housed it, hung the work upside-down for 47 days in 1961 until Genevieve Habert, a stockbroker, noticed the mistake and notified a guard. Habert later informed the New York Times who in turn notified Monroe Wheeler, the Museum’s art director. As a result, the artwork was rehung properly. The museum currently houses the piece in the “Final Works of Henri Matisse” exhibition.