MATE Mate System Appearance gives error mate-settings-daemon cannot start

I am configuring a new workstation. The motherboard has no onboard video other than basic vga. The machine has an nvidia card installed. I have mate GDM installed and working. However when I go to System -> Pererences -> Look and Feel -> Appearance I get a message box stating that the settings manager 'mate-settings-daemon' cannot start.

I have removed and reinstalled mate entirely. The package mate-settings-daemon is installed. What is the problem and how can I fix it?