Yellow in Houston

by Chikashi


A painting that has intrigued me for some time is František Kupka’s self portrait titled The Yellow Scale. The work is now owned by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. By happy coincidence, I had a few free hours before catching the return flight from Houston last week, so I headed straight to MFAH. Of course, a digital or print reproduction such as the one above does absolutely no justice to the real thing. I stood in front of the painting and was completely captivated. I do not really know why I find the work so intriguing. It is a remarkable study in the use of colour, which is something that has fascinated me for a long time. At the same time, the setting, posture, objects and expression make it unforgettable. I am tempted to say that it is haunting, except that it is in a positive, familiar way.

When I ‘came out’ of The Yellow Scale, I looked to the right, into the adjacent room, and saw Amadeo Modigliani’s portrait of Leo Zborowski, possibly the nicest of all the Zborowski portraits that he has done. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon if you are in Houston.