I first saw this painting 'in-the-flesh', when I visited MOMA in NYC in 1999. I didn't expect to be quite so profoundly thrown and moved...It was a painting I had often soaked in from reproductions in books and on posters. It is so very famous. When I was a child, I thought it might be some kind of tarot card, its magical impact on my psyche had already begun by the time I was about eleven, when I saw a book my aunt, the Dutch sculptor, Katinka van Rood-Bruin, had in her Amsterdam studio.
Her brother, my father had died just months before, and that day my heart was aching and heavy with grief. So when I stood in front of this work, the tears flooded and I had to take deep breaths so that I didn't wail with passion and emotion. I was in front of it for about half an hour. All the wonderful works in that Museum were calling me, their voice faint and easily put on hold while Matisse's dance and I communed.
I felt so deeply held and healed by the Spirit of this extraordinarily rhythmic and beautiful work.