Donald Barthelme and Matisse were both caught in the intellectual / emotional gravitational field of a true believer. It was Paul Signac with Matisse and Donald senior for Barthelme. There is only one way to reach escape velocity from a true believer and that is to become the avante- garde. One must trump the reigning spokesman or the most recent purveyor of the big thing to gamble on being the next big thing yourself. This is an existential great leap. Both Donald Barthelme and Henri Matisse were successful in their leaping by any measure.