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The highly detailed photographs that comprise German artist Matthias Schaller’s Das Meisterstück (The Masterpiece) each document the paint palettes and sometimes brushes of legendary artists—Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, Natalia Goncharova, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, among others. Schaller’s project began when the photographer visited Cy Twombly’s studio in Gaeta, Italy. Since 2007, Schaller has made a career of documenting over two hundred palettes from over seventy 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, or the overwhelming depth of Yves Klein’s blue, or the broad, gestural brushstrokes on Édouard Manet’s palette, or Piet Mondrian’s flat expanse of white each signal the work, style, and legacy of each individual painter. Schaller’s photographs stage a conversation between artists and between media, while providing invaluable insight into each artist’s use of color, organization of space, and facture.