Of the concept of ‘finishing’ in Art History.

NO_YO, but connected anyways. Marion Coutts is an award winning novelist.


In terms of art history theres a very clear shift. If you whizz around the rest of the Courtauld, you can see that in work from around 1900 onwards, the idea of a finish becomes fluid. It is a continuum: paint as matter starts to look exhilarating, things loosen up, the sketch makes an appearance. Matisses Woman in a Kimono (1906) sets a figure with scrappy, daubed flowers onto raw canvas. It is not in the show but looks equally unfinished. When artists get interested in painting as a process, in speed and time, then the idea of finish as an end state becomes malleable. Painting becomes a record of the urgency of being, of presentness: as temporal as it is visual and as visual as it is temporal. Things can come to a stop.


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