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Legendary Paint Palettes Captured in Photographs Coming to Berman

In Das Meisterstück (The Masterpiece), Matthias Schaller presents 27 highly detailed photographs that document the paint palettes of renowned artists such as Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and others.

The exhibition runs Sept. 7 through Dec. 19 at the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art. An opening reception will take place on Sept. 6.

It isn’t only the process or the finished product that offers a glimpse into the creative minds of legendary artists. It’s also the tools they used.

Schaller’s project began when the photographer visited American artist Cy Twombly’s studio in Gaeta, Italy. Since 2007, he has made a career of documenting more than 200 palettes from over 70 artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Schaller sees each image as an “indirect portrait of the painter and of his or her painting technique.” The sparse chaos of Twombly’s swirls of abstract color, the overwhelming depth of Yves Klein’s blue, or the broad, gestural brushstrokes on Édouard Manet’s palette signal the work, style and legacy of each individual painter.

“Schaller, by focusing his camera on the painter’s palette, easily exposes the unseen, yet obvious facet of the painter’s process. A seemingly superfluous tool, the palette,” says Berman Museum Director Charlie Stainback. —By Ed Moorhouse