1869 - 1954
Self Portrait - Henri Matisse: 1900
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draftsmanship. He was a draftsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he was initially labeled a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920's he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of color and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.
Early Life and Education
Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse was born in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Nord, France, he grew up in Bohain-en-Vermandois, Picardy, France, where his parents owned a flower business. He was their first son. In 1887 he went to Paris to study law, working as a court administrator in Le Cateau-Cambrésis after gaining his qualification. He first started to paint in 1889, when his mother had brought him art supplies during a period of convalescence following an attack of appendicitis. He discovered "a kind of paradise" as he later described it, and decided to become an artist, deeply disappointing his father. In 1891, he returned to Paris to study art at the Académie Julian and became a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Gustave Moreau. Initially he painted still-lifes and landscapes in the traditional Flemish style, at which he achieved reasonable proficiency. Chardin was one of Matisse's most admired painters; as an art student he made copies of four Chardin paintings in the Louvre. In 1896 he exhibited 5 paintings in the salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and the state bought two of his paintings. In 1897 and 1898, he visited the painter John Peter Russell on the island Belle Île off the coast of Brittany. Russell introduced him to Impressionism and to the work of van Gogh (who had been a good friend of Russell but was completely unknown at the time). Matisse's style changed completely, and he would later say "Russell was my teacher, and Russell explained colour theory to me." With the model Caroline Joblau, he had a daughter, Marguerite, born in 1894. In 1898 he married Amélie Noellie Parayre; the two raised Marguerite together and had two sons, Jean (born 1899) and Pierre (born 1900). Marguerite and Amélie often served as models for Matisse.
Woman Reading, 1894, Museum of Modern Art, Paris
Matisse was influenced by the works of Nicolas Poussin, Antoine Watteau, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Édouard Manet, and the post-Impressionists Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, and Signac, and also by Auguste Rodin, and Japanese art. Matisse immersed himself in the work of others and got in debt from buying work from many of the painters he admired. The work he hung and displayed in his home included a plaster bust by Rodin, a painting by Gauguin, a drawing by van Gogh, and most importantly, Cézanne's Three Bathers. In Cézanne's sense of pictorial structure and color Matisse found his main inspiration. Many of his paintings from 1899 to 1905 make use of a pointillist technique adopted from Signac. In 1898, he went to London to study the paintings of J. M. W. Turner and then went on a trip to Corsica. Upon his return to Paris he worked beside lesser known painters such as Jules Flandrin.
Blue Pot and Lemon (1897), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Fruit and Coffeepot (1899), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Vase of Sunflowers (1898), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Crockery on a Table (1900), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
His first solo exhibition was at Ambroise Vollard's Gallery in 1904, without much success. His fondness for bright and expressive colour became more pronounced after he moved southwards in 1905 to work with André Derain and spent time on the French Riviera. The paintings of this period are characterized by flat shapes and controlled lines, with expression dominant over detail.
Portrait of Andre Derain: 1905
In 1905, Matisse and a group of artists now known as "Fauves" exhibited together in a room at the Salon d'Automne. The paintings expressed emotion with wild, often dissonant colors, without regard for the subject's natural colors. Matisse showed Open Window and Woman with the Hat at the Salon. Critic Louis Vauxcelles described the work with the phrase "Donatello au milieu des fauves!" (Donatello among the wild beasts), referring to a Renaissance-type sculpture that shared the room with them. His comment was printed on October 17, 1905 in Gil Blas, a daily newspaper, and passed into popular usage. The pictures gained considerable condemnation, such as "A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public" from the critic Camille Mauclair, but also some favorable attention. The painting that was singled out for attacks was Matisse's Woman with a Hat, which was bought by Gertrude and Leo Stein: this had a very positive effect on Matisse, who was suffering demoralization from the bad reception of his work.
Woman with a Hat,1905
First exhibited at the 1905 Salon d'Automne in Paris, this work was at the center of the controversy that led to the christening of the first modern art movement of the twentieth century - Fauvism. The term fauve ("wild beast"), coined by an art critic, became forever associated with the artists who exhibited their brightly colored canvases in the central gallery (dubbed the cage centrale) of the Grand Palais.
Femme au chapeau marked a stylistic change from the regulated brushstrokes of Matisse's earlier work to a more expressive individual style. His use of non-naturalistic colors and loose brushwork, which contributed to a sketchy or "unfinished" quality, seemed shocking to the viewers of the day.
The artist's wife, Amélie, posed for this half-length portrait. She is depicted in an elaborate outfit with classic attributes of the French bourgeoisie: a gloved arm holding a fan and an elaborate hat perched atop her head. Her costume's vibrant hues are purely expressive, however; when asked about the hue of the dress Madame Matisse was actually wearing when she posed for the portrait, the artist allegedly replied, "Black, of course."
The expatriate Stein family (Michael, Sarah, Leo, and Gertrude) bought the painting soon after its initial showing. Although Leo characterized the work as "the nastiest smear of paint I had ever seen," the Steins recognized its importance and began a long-lasting patronage of the French artist. Sarah and Michael Stein subsequently brought the painting to San Francisco where it was bought in the 1950s by the Haas family. In 1990 Elise S. Haas bequeathed to the Museum thirty-seven paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by modernist masters, among them Femme au chapeau.
Quoted From: SFMOMA - Explore Modern Art
Matisse was recognized as a leader of the group, along with André Derain; the two were friendly rivals, each with his own followers. Other members were Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck. The Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau was the movement's inspirational teacher, and he did much for the era; a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he pushed his students to think outside of the lines of formality and to follow their visions.
In 1907 Apollinaire, commenting about Matisse in an article published in La Falange, said, "We are not here in the presence of an extravagant or an extremist undertaking: Matisse's art is eminently reasonable."
But Matisse's work of the time also encountered vehement criticism, and it was difficult for him to provide for his family. His controversial 1907 painting Nu bleu was burned in effigy at the Armory Show in Chicago in 1913.
Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra): 1907
The decline of the Fauvist movement after 1906 did nothing to affect the rise of Matisse; many of his finest works were created between 1906 and 1917, when he was an active part of the great gathering of artistic talent in Montparnasse, even though he did not quite fit in, with his conservative appearance and strict bourgeois work habits.
Matisse had a long association with the Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin. He created one of his major works La Danse specially for Shchukin as part of a two painting commission, the other painting being Music, 1910. An earlier version of La Danse (1909) is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
This charcoal drawing depicts one of Matisse's foremost patrons and an early connoisseur of modern art, the Russian merchant Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin (1854-1936). The two first met in Paris in the fall of 1906, although Shchukin had been familiar with Matisse's work since 1904. Between 1906 and 1914, he acquired some forty important paintings by Matisse for his house in Moscow, including two famous decorative panels executed in 1909-10, Dance and Music. Prior to the Russian Revolution in October 1917, Shchukin's entire collection was open to the public one day a week, and provided one of the only places to see European modern art in Moscow.
In 1918, the collection was nationalized and eventually divided between the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Shchukin himself emigrated in August 1919 to Germany and then to France, where he settled in Nice. Although Matisse, then living in nearby Collioure, attempted another meeting, Shchukin remained aloof, possibly because of his diminished financial circumstances.
In this preparatory study for an oil painting, which was never realized, Matisse captures the personality of his sitter in several masterly touches. He emphasizes Shchukin's "exotic" appearance with his penetrating eyes, bushy eyebrows, high cheekbones, and expressive mouth, and creates a lively tension by positioning the head high and off-center within the pictorial field.
Quoted From: Henri Matisse - Portrait of Sergei I. Shchukin (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
The Dance (first version), 1909
La Danse ('The Dance I', the first version of 1909), oil on canvas painting by Henri Matisse, Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
There are two paintings, and a mural by the French artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) with the title 'The Dance' ('La Danse'). What is displayed here is an image of the first version, known as 'The Dance (I)' because it is a study or preliminary work by Matisse for the painting he created for the Russian businessman Sergei Shchukin. The final version, 'The Dance' ('La Danse') is now in the collection of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The third version is a very large triptych mural titled 'The Dance II' created by Henri Matisse in 1932 for the Barnes Foundation of Philadelphia.
Henri Matisse painted the first version in March 1909 with paler colors and lesser details as it was a compositional study. However, it became a famous work in its own right and it is now at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. The painting was donated to the museum by Nelson A. Rockefeller in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr.
The painting shows five figures of dancing women forming a circle. The painting is often quoted to show Matisse's fascination for Primitivism and Fauvism. It is also considered as a corner stone in his career and his contribution for the development of Modern Art.
Quoted From: Henri Matisse: La Danse Public Domain Photos
The Dance (second version), 1910
Matisse worked on the huge canvas for Music without preparatory sketches and rethought the composition numerous times. The canvas thus bears the traces of numerous alterations, and we can almost trace all the steps in the artist's difficult search for the desired effect.
Music is built up of the same three elements as The Dance: the same expressive harmony of green, red and blue; the five simplified figures of musicians and singers accord with the five dancers; as in The Dance, Man is one with Earth and Heaven. He has mounted the hill, torn himself away from everyday routine and become an image-symbol, existing outside of time and space. But Music amazes us with its concentrated calm, the absolute immobility of the isolated figures, the total concentration on the playing of musical instruments and singing. The open mouths seem to resonate and force us to physically experience the human voices pouring from within. While the figures, who seem almost like musical notation on a page, are totally enclosed within themselves, the music unites them in a single whole, the violin-playing conductor acting as the central figure in the composition.
Quoted From: Gandalf's Gallery: Henri Matisse - Music, 1910
Gertrude Stein, Académie Matisse, and the Cone Sisters
Around 1904 he met Pablo Picasso, who was 12 years younger than him. The two became life-long friends as well as rivals and are often compared; one key difference between them is that Matisse drew and painted from nature, while Picasso was much more inclined to work from imagination. The subjects painted most frequently by both artists were women and still life, with Matisse more likely to place his figures in fully realized interiors. Matisse and Picasso were first brought together at the Paris Salon of Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas. During the first decade of the 20th Century, Americans in Paris Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo Stein, Michael Stein and Michael's wife Sarah were important collectors and supporters of Matisse's paintings. In addition Gertrude Stein's two American friends from Baltimore, the Cone Sisters Clarabel and Etta, became major patrons of Matisse and Picasso, collecting hundreds of their paintings. The Cone Collection is now exhibited in the Baltimore Museum of Art.
While numerous artists visited the Stein salon, many of these artists were not represented among the paintings on the walls at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Where Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso's works dominated Leo and Gertrude Stein's collection, Sarah Stein's collection emphasized Matisse.
The Dessert: Harmony in Red, 1908, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
The Dessert: Harmony in Red is a painting by French artist Henri Matisse, from 1908. It is considered by some critics to be Matisse's masterpiece. This Fauvist painting follows the example set by Impressionism with the overall lack of a central focal point.
The painting was ordered as "Harmony in Blue," but Matisse was dissatisfied with the result, and so he painted it over with his preferred red.
It is in the permanent collection of the Hermitage Museum.
Quoted From: The Dessert: Harmony in Red (The Red Room) - Wikipedia
Contemporaries of Leo and Gertrude Stein, Matisse and Picasso became part of their social circle, and were a part of the early Saturday evenings at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Gertrude attributed the beginnings of the Saturday evening salons to Matisse, remarking:
more and more frequently, people began visiting to see the Matisse paintings-- and the Cézannes: "Matisse brought people, everybody brought somebody, and they came at any time and it began to be a nuisance, and it was in this way that Saturday evenings began."
Among Pablo Picasso's acquaintances who also frequented the Saturday evenings were: Fernande Olivier (Picasso's mistress), Georges Braque (artist), André Derain (artist), Max Jacob (poet), Guillaume Apollinaire (poet), Marie Laurencin (Apollinaire's mistress and an artist in her own right), and Henri Rousseau (painter).
His friends organized and financed the Académie Matisse in Paris, a private and non-commercial school in which Matisse instructed young artists. It operated from 1907 until 1911. Hans Purrmann and Sarah Stein were among several of his most loyal students.
Selected Paintings: Paris, 1901-1917
Luxembourg Gardens (1901), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Dishes and Fruit (1901), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
A Glimpse of Notre-Dame in the Late Afternoon (1902), Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Vase, Bottle and Fruit (1906), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Luxe, Calme et Volupté, 1904, Musée National d'Art Moderne
Luxe, Calme et Volupté is an oil painting by Henri Matisse from 1904. Its title comes from the poem L'Invitation au voyage, from Charles Baudelaire's volume Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil):
Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.
From: Luxe, Calme et Volupté - Wikipedia
Two editions of Fleurs du mal were published in Baudelaire's lifetime - one in 1857 and an expanded edition in 1861. "Scraps" and censored poems were collected in Les Épaves in 1866. After Baudelaire died the following year, a "definitive" edition appeared in 1868.
Invitation to the Voyage
My child, my sister,
Think of the rapture
Of living together there!
Of loving at will,
Of loving till death,
In the land that is like you!
The misty sunlight
Of those cloudy skies
Has for my spirit the charms,
Of your treacherous eyes,
Shining brightly through their tears.
here all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.
Polished by the years,
Will ornament our bedroom;
The rarest flowers
Mingling their fragrance
With the faint scent of amber,
The ornate ceilings,
The limpid mirrors,
The oriental splendor,
All would whisper there
Secretly to the soul
In its soft, native language.
There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.
See on the canals
Those vessels sleeping.
Their mood is adventurous;
It's to satisfy
Your slightest desire
That they come from the ends of the earth.
- The setting suns
Adorn the fields,
The canals, the whole city,
With hyacinth and gold;
The world falls asleep
In a warm glow of light.
There all is order and beauty,
Luxury, peace, and pleasure.
~William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)
From: L'Invitation au voyage (Invitation to the Voyage) by Charles Baudelaire
(Definitive edition published after Baudelaire's death)
1868 Edition of Charles Baudelaire's Fleurs du mal
Le bonheur de vivre, 1905-06, Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA
Henri Matisse did several versions of his Joy of Life painting. In this version, the artist has used bold, flat, contrasting colors to create a work with much impact. His simplified figures with strong outlines are all finding their own peace in their own way, with some dancing, others relaxing, while the couple in the lower right are embracing each other.
Quoted From: The Joy of Life - Henri Matisse Paintings
Open Window, Collioure,1905
The Open Window also known as Open Window, Collioure, is a painting by Henri Matisse from 1905, oil on canvas, former collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney, New York, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
An example of the Fauvist style of painting that Matisse became famous for; and for which he was a leader, roughly between the years 1900-1909. The theme of an open window in Matisse's work is a recurring theme throughout his long career.
In Open Window, Collioure, 1905, he painted the view out the window of his apartment in Collioure, on the Southern coast of France. We see sailboats on the water, from Matisse's hotel window out onto the harbor of Collioure. He used the theme of the open window in Paris and especially during the years in Nice and Etretat, and in his final years, particularly during the late 1940's.
Quoted From: The Open Window - Wikipedia
Portrait of Madame Matisse (The green line), 1905, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark
This depiction of the artist's wife, Amélie, is one of Matisse's most famous paintings and a masterpiece within 20th century portraiture. Much of its strength resides in its simple geometric structure and in the way in which the colors are combined. Spatial modulation is pared back to a minimum. Effects of light and shadow, which would have added depth to the image, have been translated into planes of colour instead.
The painting was presumably painted in the autumn of 1905, when Matisse had returned to Paris after spending a summer in the fishing village of Collioure. Here, he and André Derain engaged in ever-wilder painterly experiments intended to release color from its descriptive function, allowing it to act as a force in its own right. With its unorthodox use of colour, the painting is built on those experiments.
Quoted From: Statens Museum for Kunst: Henri Matisse - Portrait of Madame Matisse
Self-Portrait in a Striped T-shirt 1906, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark
Matisse was a great colorist and always sought to achieve the greatest effect possible. Here in this simple self portrait Matisse has used greens on his face to compliment the reds in his shirt.
Quoted From: Self-Portrait in a Striped T-shirt - Henri Matisse Paintings
The Young Sailor II, 1906, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Matisse painted "The Young Sailor" in 1906, at the height of his involvement with the Fauves. The sitter of this picture is an eighteen-year-old fisherman, Germain Augustin Barthélémy Montargès, from the small Mediterranean village of Collioure, near the Spanish border. Against the flat, bright pink background, Germain wears typical fisherman's garb: a navy blue cap, a pullover over a white undershirt and blue-and-pink striped jersey, baggy green pants, green-and-white checked socks, and sturdy, laced-up shoes with rubber soles. His broad face is flat and mask-like, and the contours of his rounded limbs are crisp and defined, creating a sharp contrast to the loose brushstrokes that constitute them. Germain's rather theatrical looks and the work's bold palette, in which the figure's green and blue outfit is set against the pink, candy-colored ground, combine to make this painting one of Matisse's most decorative portraits in the Fauve manner.
Quoted From: The Young Sailor II by Henri Matisse - The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Madras Rouge, 1907, Barnes Foundation
Madras Rouge (The Red Madras Headress) is a painting by Henri Matisse from 1907. The woman depicted is the painter's wife, Amélie Noellie Parayre Matisse.
Quoted From: Madras Rouge - Wikipedia
Bathers with a Turtle, 1908, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis
Bathers with a Turtle is a painting by Henri Matisse from 1908, collection: The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis. It was purchased by Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. in 1939 at an auction of Nazi plunder and later given by him to the museum. Prior to that it had been in the collection of the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany. Pulitzer purchased it at the urging of Matisse's son Pierre Matisse, in order to prevent the artwork from being destroyed, despite the profit from the auction going to the Nazis.
Quoted From: Bathers with a Turtle - Wikipedia
Game of Bowls, 1908, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Game of Bowls is a painting by Henri Matisse from 1908. The painting shows three young men, probably Matisse's sons and nephew, playing a game of Bowls. Matisse sees the game as a manifestation of man's creativity, and an instrument to use in understanding the codes of life. The painting is part of Matisse's series on man's "Golden Age" and was part of Sergei Shchukin's collection before the October Revolution of 1917. It is now in the collection of The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Quoted From: Game of Bowls - Wikipedia
Still Life with Geraniums, 1910, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany
Still Life with Geraniums is a 1910 oil on canvas painting by Henri Matisse.
It is in the collection of Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany, to whom it was given in 1912, thus becoming, according to the museum, the first Matisse to enter a public collection. It was one of six paintings in the museum's collection to survive World War II.
The painting should not be confused with Matisse's 1906 painting Still Life with a Geranium, which is held by the Art Institute of Chicago, or his 1912 painting Pot of Geraniums in the National Gallery of Art.
Quoted From: Still Life with Geraniums - Wikipedia
The Conversation, ca 1911, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
The Conversation is a painting by Henri Matisse dating from 1908-1912, depicting the artist and his wife facing each other before a background of intense blue. It is in the collection of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
This was among several works acquired directly from Matisse in Paris by the Russian collector Sergei Shchukin. After the Russian Revolution the Shchukin collection was confiscated and eventually by 1948 the collection was donated to the public along with the Ivan Morozov collection, at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
Matisse painted The Conversation at a time when he had abandoned the open, spontaneous brushwork of his Fauve period in favor of a flatter and more decorative style. The painting is large, and shows Matisse in profile, standing at the left in striped pajamas, while his wife, Amélie, sits at the left. The flatly painted blue wall behind them is relieved by a window opening onto a garden landscape.
Art historian Hilary Spurling has described this "stern encounter" as "portray(ing) the profound underlying shape or mechanism of a relationship laid down for both parties on the day, soon after they first met in 1897, when Matisse warned his future wife that, dearly as he loved her, he would always love painting more."
The pajamas worn by Matisse were fashionable as leisure wear in early 20th century France. They had recently been introduced to Europe from India, where they were worn by tea planters, and Matisse habitually thereafter wore pajamas as his studio working clothes.
Quoted From: The Conversation (painting) - Wikipedia
Le Rifain Debout: 1912
Le Rifain assis, 1912-13, Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA
Two of Matisse's figure paintings from Morocco, Le Rifain Debout and Le Rifain Assis, the first of which is from 1912 and the second of which is from either 1912 or 1913, are very similar stylistically to Les Pervenches. Both paintings show a similar thin application of paint with very obvious brush-strokes. Le Rifain Deboutcontains no black pigment, and Le Rifain Assisuses the color in a fairly standard way, in the shadows of the man's outfit and on the features of his face. Albert C. Barnes and Violetta di Mazia note of Le Rifain Assis that, "The figure, perceived as a plane like volume in space, constitutes the focus of a set of large interpenetrating planes that move in all directions." This is very similar to the flattening, planar effect of the large sections of color in his Moroccan landscapes.
From: Le Rifian Debout and Le Rifain Assis - Matisse in Morocco - Confluence
Zorah en Jaune, 1912
First Trip to Morocco: Zorah en Jaune
We see this change from wild Fauve women to a concentration on painting one woman respectably when, towards the end of Matisse's first trip to Morocco in 1912, he began to paint the model Zorah; the resulting collection of paintings of her that grew out of Matisse's two separate trips to Morocco provides the perfect lens through which to compare basic differences with Matisse's highly sexualized Fauve women in Le Bonheur de Vivre. John Elderfield in his essay entitled "Matisse in Morocco: An Interpretive Guide" from Matisse in Morocco asserts, "Matisse seems to have had difficulties finding models who would pose for him, particularly women because of the law of the veil. Only Jewesses and prostitutes were exempt". Matisse is thus lucky to have found the prostitute Zorah, yet importantly he does not paint her as a prostitute. Instead, in his first picture of her, Zorah en Jaune, sexual themes are most conspicuously absent from the canvas. As a prostitute used to exposing and flaunting her body, Zorah could have easily been painted nude or with less clothing to show herself off, but instead Matisse chooses to keep her clothed and posed with prudence. Unlike the primitive, nude Western women in the Fauve Le Bonheur de Vivre, Moroccan Zorah is clothed with respect and detail to her finer characteristics. She is kneeling in a way that does not flatter her body nor draw attention to her small, flat breasts that have not been enhanced with paint. This lack of attention to her body as a sex symbol shows a certain maturity in Matisse as an artist: he is developing his ability to paint with awareness of the non-sexual qualities of his subject, a movement away from Fauve women.
Furthermore, a second item of interest that immediately deserves notice about Zorah en Jaune that makes it distinctly different from the primitive Le Bonheur de Vivre, is the title: as a model, Zorah is still named. Instead of titling the painting generically, as "Moroccan Woman" would suffice, Matisse calls Zorah by her name. This automatically gives her a less primitive, less sexual suggestion than randy Le Bonheur de Vivre, which translates to "the happiness of life," connotes. It makes Zorah a subject, not an object, on canvas. This difference is tantamount to the distinction between the Fauve women and Zorah. These two careful deliberations by the artist as to how to depict a specific Moroccan woman show the beginnings of his development away from the raging sensuality of Fauve women and towards a calculated construction of culture and humanity of a single female within a painting.
Quoted From: Matisse's First Trip to Morocco- Zorah en Jaune
Zorah on the Terrace, 1912, The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia
Zorah Standing: 1912
In 1913 several important Moroccan works by Matisse appeared in the collection of Moscow collector Sergey Shchukin. Among these was Zorah Standing, produced by the artist in late 1912 during his second trip to Morocco. The painting was conceived as a pair to a portrait of the Moroccan boy Amido, also in the Hermitage. Both paintings are on canvas of identical size, and yet the resonance of Zorah Standing makes it a very different work to the portrait of Amido.
The whole structure of the painting, its composition and colour, reveal the deep impression made on the artist by Persian miniatures and by Russian icons - he became acquainted with the latter during a journey to Moscow in the autumn of 1911. In Standing Zorah he transformed them, and the artist's favorite model became a symbol of the whole of the mysterious East, full of magic, with the scent of spices in the air.
The picture space was subjugated to the flat surface of the canvas. Zorah, wearing dark green, is set frontally and stands out sharply against the bright raspberry-orange background. The white edging with its ornamental black dots introduces a broken rhythmic feel into the almost monotone colour of the figure and reinforces its sense of weightlessness.
The transfixing magic of colour, the sorcery in the fixed gaze of those clearly outlined, exaggeratedly almond-shaped eyes - everything embodies the great mystery of the alien culture which provided Matisse with such an intense creative impulse.
From: Zorah Standing - Henri Matisse
Moroccan Amido: 1912
This work was painted during Matisse's first trip to Morocco in 1912. His many new, strong impressions gained during that first acquaintance with the Orient, the direct contact with a world so very different from his own, demanded new means of expression adequate both to his thoughts and emotions and to the Orient itself. Avoiding overt oriental exoticism and ethnographical pedantry, Matisse filled the painting with his joy at the natural informality of the model, joy at the sun, joy at light-filled color.
The youth, a stable-hand at a Tangiers hotel, stands easily and naturally, the narrow canvas format complementing his long-legged, light figure. Matisse captures the dark skin, the bright white shirt, the pure colors of the waistcoat and short trousers. The figure of Amido has mass and volume and yet is somewhat asymmetrical, twisted in space, creating a sense of dynamism, despite the boy's calm pose.
Matisse selected this painting for the Moscow collector Sergey Shchukin.
From: Moroccan Amido - Henri Matisse
Window at Tangier, 1912, The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
Window at Tangier by Henri Matisse (1912 - The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow).
An example of Matisse's paintings after the colorful revolution of his Fauvism period. After several trips outside of France, Matisse became interested in the Islamic art of North Africa. He visited Morocco in 1912 and 1913. Window in Tangier, with its bold color and flat perspective reflects a Moroccan influence in Matisse's work.
This was among several works acquired directly from Matisse in Paris by the Russian collector Ivan Morozov. After the Russian Revolution the Morozov collection was confiscated and eventually by 1948 the collection was donated to the public along with the Sergei Shchukin collection, at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the Hermitage in St Petersburg.
Quoted From: Window at Tangier - Wikipedia
Woman on a High Stool, 1914, Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Matisse took Woman on a High Stool through many changes as he worked, particularly the seated figure. Perhaps the greatest alteration was in color: vivid blue, green, and orange-red areas have been mostly covered with layers of gray. Here, as in his earlier blue paintings, the artist may have embraced a restriction of color for the formal and expressive potential it presented. The painting shares its simplified geometric forms, heavy contouring, and austere palette with the work of Cézanne and Cubist paintings Picasso and Georges Braque made a few years earlier. This work represents Germaine Raynal, wife of the Cubist critic Maurice Raynal.
Quoted From: MoMA - The Collection - Henri Matisse. Woman on a High Stool: 1914
View of Notre-Dame, 1914, Museum of Modern Art
Matisse made several views of Notre Dame cathedral from his quai Saint-Michel studio in 1914. In February his friend Marcel Sembat wrote about two views the artist had completed, one "very beautiful", the other "lopsided", which "no one would understand immediately" but he preferred. Matisse reworked features of this canvas before covering almost the entire surface in blue. He left early compositional elements visible beneath the paint, accentuating the temporal quality of building a work of art over time.
Quoted From: MoMA - The Collection - Henri Matisse. View of Notre Dame: 1914
French Window at Collioure, 1914. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
With this canvas painted at Collioure in the autumn of 1914, Matisse offers a radically stripped-down image bordering on abstraction. It is in this sense that the work was interpreted when it was presented for the first time, long after the artist's death, in a travelling exhibition in the United States in 1966. Nonetheless, as a number of its elements indicate, this painting remains connected to representation, with all the sensuality and emotion which attaches to the theme of the window in Matisse's work. Some details are explicitly figurative, like the scorings on the left-hand shutter which are reminiscent of slashes. Likewise, the oblique angle of the wall at the bottom of the canvas reintroduces three-dimensionality to represent the floor of the room. Lastly, there are trees and the balcony ironwork still visible, despite the black color wash applied during the final stage of work.
Talking about a painting from 1916 in which black predominates, Matisse says he began "to use black as a color of light and not as a colour of darkness". He appears already to be heading towards this discovery of black as an intimation of blinding light, here penetrating the space of the open window.
Unlike numerous other windows painted at Collioure after 1905, this one does not set out to articulate an interior space and a landscape. Between a dimmed interior and an even darker exterior, only the edges, the shutters or the bounds of the opening are lit. Merging with the rectangle of the picture, this window is approached for itself, as an emblematic subject of painting.
Quoted From: Henri Matisse
The Yellow Curtain, 1915, Museum of Modern Art New York City
The Museum of Modern Art has acquired an important masterpiece by Henri Matisse, thanks to a major contribution by Museum Chairman Ronald S.Lauder. The painting, The Window/The Yellow Curtain (ca.1915), represents the view from a window of Matisse's home in Issy-les Moulineaux, near Paris. It shows a vista dominated by the yellow of flowering acacia trees and punctuated by the blue of the sky above and a canopy below, framed by a window with a billowing crimson curtain at left, with glimpses of a yellow lining that echoes the trees in the distance. In 1992-93 the work was included in MoMA's Henri Matisse: A Retrospective , one of the most popular exhibitions in the history of the Museum.
Glenn D. Lowry, Director of the Museum, said, "I would like to thank Ronald Lauder for his enormous generosity. For years he had hoped to acquire this painting for his personal collection, but he became increasingly convinced of its importance to the Museum. When it became available, he not only very graciously agreed to let MoMA buy it, but also volunteered to make a major donation toward the purchase. With critical acquisitions such as this, The Museum of Modern Art continues to enhance its unparalleled historical holdings. The painting is as bold as it is daring and is a truly outstanding addition to our Matisse collection."
Mr. Lauder remarked, "I have long admired this remarkable work and am extremely pleased to see it enter the Museum's collection. I remember seeing it in the mid 1970's in the collection of Marcel Marbille in Belgium and I realized how special it was. I wanted this work since that time but I am delighted that it has finally come to the place where it belongs."
Kirk Varnedoe, Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, added, "This is a truly uncanny picture, radically austere in its abstraction, but also sensual and seductive. The boldness of its simplified shapes is balanced by a linear delicacy in its drawing in a way that makes it very singular within Matisse's oeuvre and premonitory of aspects of abstract paintinghalf a century later. Our holdings in the artist's early work were already superb, yet The Window/The Yellow Curtain obviously matches that level of quality and adds something unique and invaluable. Ever since I first saw this painting I have dreamed of bringing it into this Museum's collection."
Noted Matisse scholar John Elderfield, the Museum's Chief Curator at Large and Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, who organized Henri Matisse: A Retrospective , said of the acquisition, "This is the last great privately held work from Matisse's important experimental period of 1913 to 1917 that is possibly available. In concept and execution, it is as radical as the Museum's View of Notre-Dame (spring 1914), and it almost predicts the paper cutouts of the artist's final years. Yet, Coloristically, this painting is an extraordinary thing, as joyous as the artist's most uplifting works, in contrast to the more frequently solemn, even severe, pieces of this period. Because every work of this extraordinary era is so independently conceived, it is fitting that The Window/The Yellow Curtain takes its place in the Museum's collection, which is especially strong in this period." The painting was sold to the Museum by Stephen Hanh, a collector and former dealer in modern art, through William Acquavella, Inc. The painting is now on view in the Museum's Matisse Gallery.
Quoted From: MoMA 1997 Press Release - "THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART ACQUIRES IMPORTANT MASTERPIECE BY HENRI MATISSE"
The Painter and His Model, 1917, Museum of Modern Art, Paris
The Painter and His Model is a painting by Henri Matisse from the year 1917. It is currently in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Paris. In this work Matisse depicted himself in his studio on the fourth floor of 19 Quai Saint-Michel, at work on his painting Laurette in a Green Robe (1916).
Quoted From: The Painter and His Model - Wikipedia
In 1917 Matisse relocated to Cimiez on the French Riviera, a suburb of the city of Nice. His work of the decade or so following this relocation shows a relaxation and a softening of his approach. This "return to order" is characteristic of much art of the post-World War I period, and can be compared with the neoclassicism of Picasso and Stravinsky, and the return to traditionalism of Derain. His Orientalist Odalisque paintings are characteristic of the period; while popular, some contemporary critics found this work shallow and decorative.
Laurette in a Green Dress on Black Background: 1916
Between December 1916 and the close of 1917, Matisse painted at least twenty-five pictures of an Italian model named Laurette. She also posed with her sister and a woman named Aïcha for some fifteen additional works by the artist. Sometimes Matisse depicted Laurette wide-awake, as in a series of close-up portraits, and at other times she is shown lounging languorously on a sofa. Sometimes she wears the exotic costume or headdress of an odalisque. This painting, however, is different. Here, Laurette, in floppy slippers, without her usual decorative accessories, and undoubtedly nude under the voluminous green robe, appears to rest between sittings. Since there are no indications of the room or the surrounding space, the curvilinear shape of the plush Second Empire armchair envelops Laurette like a fluffy pink cloud upon which she seems to float like an earthy Madonna. Matisse painted these pictures of Laurette in his fourth-floor studio at 19, Quai Saint-Michel in Paris, which was opposite police headquarters on the Île de la Cité across the Seine. As the artist's son Pierre recalled, Laurette was somewhat unconventional and, during breaks from posing, would go to the open window for some air, oblivious to the fact that she was stark naked; at these times, the windows of the police station were filled with gawking men.
Quoted From: Henri Matisse: Laurette in a Green Robe - Black Background
Laurette in a White Turban: 1916
Nude's Back: 1918
In the late 1920's Matisse notably once again engaged in active collaborations and friendships with other artists he met or liked working or spending time with. He worked with not only Frenchmen, Dutch, Germans, and Spanish, but also a few Americans and recent American immigrants.
After 1930 a new vigor and bolder simplification appeared in his work. American art collector Albert C. Barnes convinced him to produce a large mural for the Barnes Foundation, The Dance II, which was completed in 1932. The Foundation owns several dozen other Matisse paintings.
The Dance: 1932-33 (One)
The Dance: 1932-33 (Two)
The Dance: 1932-33 (Three)
He and his wife of 41 years separated in 1939. In 1941, he underwent surgery where a colostomy was performed. Afterwards, he started using a wheelchair. Until his death he would be cared for by a Russian woman, Lydia Delektorskaya, formerly one of his models. With the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, called gouaches découpés. His Blue Nudes Series feature prime examples of this technique he called "painting with scissors"; they demonstrate the ability to bring his eye for colour and geometry to a new medium of utter simplicity, but with playful and delightful power.
Young Woman in a Blue Blouse
(Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya, the Artist's Secretary): 1939
Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya,
the Artist's Secretary: 1947
Matisse painted this portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya eight years after the Young Woman in a Blue Blouse . We no longer see the captivating charm of youth and tenderness. Here the harsh line which divides the face into planes of yellow and blue makes the image something mysterious and inevitable. The bright sunny side of the face and its mysterous blue alter-ego are like light and shade, the eternal contrasts which lie within the human soul.
Combined, these two colours give birth to the green of the luxuriant hair which forms a marvellous crown on the woman's head.
Through the use of colour contrasts and ornamental expressiveness, the artist with deceptive simplicity conveys the unusual nature of this model, who so captivated him over the last years of his life.Quoted From: Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya - Drawings, Prints and Painting from The Hermitage
In 1947 he published Jazz, a limited-edition book containing prints of colorful, paper cut collages, accompanied by his written thoughts. In the 1940's he also worked as a graphic artist and produced black-and-white illustrations for several books and over one hundred original lithographs at the famous Mourlot Studios in Paris.
Matisse, thoroughly apolitical, was shocked when he heard that his daughter Marguerite, who had been active in the Résistance during the war, was tortured (almost to death) in a Rennes prison and sentenced to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. (Marguerite avoided further imprisonment by escaping from the Ravensbrück-bound train, which was halted during an Allied air strike; she survived in the woods until rescued by fellow resisters.)
According to David Rockefeller, Matisse's final work was the design for a stained-glass window installed at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills near the Rockefeller estate north of New York City. "It was his final artistic creation; the maquette was on the wall of his bedroom when he died in November of 1954," Rockefeller writes. Installation was completed in 1956.
Matisse Window at Union Church of Pocantico Hills, NY
In 1951 Matisse finished a four-year project of designing the interior, the glass windows and the decorations of the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, often referred to as the Matisse Chapel. This project was the result of the close friendship between Matisse and Sister Jacques-Marie. He had hired her as a nurse and model in 1941 before she became a Dominican Nun and they met again in Vence and started the collaboration, a story related in her 1992 book Henri Matisse: La Chapelle de Vence and in the 2003 documentary "A Model for Matisse".
Interior of the Chapel of the Rosary, Vence: 1950
He established a museum dedicated to his work in 1952, in his birthplace city, and this museum is now the third-largest collection of Matisse works in France.
Matisse died of a heart attack at the age of 84 in 1954. He is interred in the cemetery of the Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez, near Nice.
The first painting of Matisse acquired by a public collection was Still Life with Geraniums (1910), exhibited in the Pinakothek der Moderne. Today, a Matisse painting can fetch as much as US $17 million. In 2002, a Matisse sculpture, Reclining Nude I (Dawn), sold for US $9.2 million, a record for a sculpture by the artist.
Reclining Nude I
The Plum Blossoms, a 1948 painting by Henri Matisse, was purchased on September 8, 2005, for the Museum of Modern Art by Henry Kravis and the new president of the museum, Marie-Josée Drouin. Estimated price was US $25 million. Previously, it had not been seen by the public since 1970.
The Plum Blossoms: 1948
Matisse's daughter Marguerite often aided Matisse scholars with insights about his working methods and his works. She died in 1982 while compiling a catalog of her father's work.
Matisse's son, Pierre Matisse, (1900-1989) opened an important modern art gallery in New York City during the 1930's. The Pierre Matisse Gallery which was active from 1931 until 1989 represented and exhibited many European artists and a few Americans and Canadians in New York often for the first time. He exhibited Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Dubuffet, André Derain, Yves Tanguy, Le Corbusier, Paul Delvaux, Wifredo Lam, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Balthus, Leonora Carrington, Zao Wou Ki, Sam Francis, sculptors Theodore Roszak, Raymond Mason and Reg Butler, and several other important artists, including the work of Henri Matisse.
Henri Matisse's grandson, Paul Matisse, is an artist and inventor living in Massachusetts. Matisse's great granddaughter Sophie Matisse is active as an artist as of 2010. Les Heritiers Matisse functions as his official Estate. The U.S. copyright representative for Les Heritiers Matisse is the Artists Rights Society.
Henri Matisse - Wikipedia
Henri Matisse - Olga's Gallery
Henri Matisse Online
Self Portrait by Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse (1869-1954) - Thematic Essay
The remarkable career of Henri Matisse, one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, whose stylistic innovations (along with those of Pablo Picasso) fundamentally altered the course of modern art and affected the art of several generations of younger painters, spanned almost six and a half decades. His vast oeuvre encompassed painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic arts (as diverse as etchings, linocuts, lithographs, and aquatints), paper cutouts, and book illustration. His varied subjects comprised landscape, still life, portraiture, domestic and studio interiors, and particularly focused on the female figure.
Initially trained as a lawyer, Matisse developed an interest in art only at age twenty-one. In 1891, he moved to Paris to study art and followed the traditional nineteenth-century academic path, first at the Académie Julian (winter 1891-92, under the conservative William-Adolphe Bouguereau), and then at the École des Beaux-Arts (1892, under the Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau). Matisse's early work, which he began exhibiting in 1895, was informed by the dry academic manner, particularly evident in his drawing. Discovering manifold artistic movements that coexisted or succeeded one another on the dynamic Parisian artistic scene, such as Neo-Classicism, Realism, Impressionism, and Neo-Impressionism, he began to experiment with a diversity of styles, employing new kinds of brushwork, light, and composition to create his own pictorial language.
In its palette and technique, Matisse's early work showed the influence of an older generation of his compatriots: Édouard Manet (1832-1883) and Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). In the summer of 1904, while visiting his artist friend Paul Signac at Saint-Tropez, a small fishing village in Provence, Matisse discovered the bright light of southern France, which contributed to a change to a much brighter palette. He also was exposed, through Signac and Henri-Edmond Cross, living in nearby Lavandou, to a Pointillist technique of small color dots (points) in complementary colors, perfected in the 1880's by Georges Seurat (1859-1891). As a result, Matisse produced his Neo-Impressionist masterpiece Luxe, calme et volupté (1904-5; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris), so titled after a poem by Charles Baudelaire, and exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris (spring 1905) to great acclaim. The next summer, in Collioure, a seaport also on the Mediterranean coast, where he vacationed in the company of André Derain (1880-1954), Matisse created brilliantly colored canvases structured by color applied in a variety of brushwork, ranging from thick impasto to flat areas of pure pigment, sometimes accompanied by a sinuous, arabesque-like line. Paintings such as Woman with a Hat (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), when exhibited at the 1905 Salon d'Automne in Paris, gave rise to the the first of the avant-garde movements (fall 1905-7), named "Fauvism" (from the French word fauves or "wild beasts") by a contemporary art critic, referring to its use of arbitrary combinations of bright colors and energetic brushwork to structure the composition. During his brief Fauvist period, Matisse produced a significant number of remarkable canvases, such as the Portrait of Madame Matisse, called The Green Line (1905; Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen); Bonheur de vivre (1905-6; Barnes Collection, Merion, Pa.); Marguerite Reading (1905-6; MoMA, New York); two versions of The Young Sailor (1906), the second of which is at the Metropolitan Museum; Blue Nude: Memory of Biskra (1907; Baltimore Museum of Art); and two versions of Le Luxe (1907), among others.
Subsequently, Matisse's career can be divided into several periods that changed stylistically, but his underlying aim always remained the same: to discover "the essential character of things" and to produce an art "of balance, purity, and serenity," as he himself put it in his "Notes of a Painter" in 1908. The years 1908-13 were focused on art and decoration, producing several large canvases such as Reclining Odalisque (1908; two important mural-size commissions, Dance and Music (1909-10), for the Moscow house of his Russian patron Sergei I. Shchukin; a trio of large studio interiors, exemplified by The Red Studio (1911; MoMA, New York); and a group of spectacularly colored Moroccan pictures. These were followed by four years (1913-17) of experimentation and discourse with the Cubism of Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris. The resulting compositions were much more austere, almost geometrically structured and at times close to abstraction, as shown in the View of Notre-Dame (1914; MoMA, New York), the Yellow Curtain (1915; private collection), The Piano Lesson (1916; MoMA, New York), Bathers by a River (1916; Art Institute, Chicago), and a group of portraits in which a seated figure or the sitter's head is positioned against a thinly brushed, neutral background. Yet he also created meticulously drawn portraits such as the famous Plumed Hat (1919; MoMA, New York).
In the autumn of 1917, Matisse traveled to Nice in the south of France, and eventually settled there for the rest of his life. The years 1917-30 are known as his early Nice period, when his principal subject remained the female figure or an odalisque dressed in oriental costume or in various stages of undress, depicted as standing, seated, or reclining in a luxurious, exotic interior of Matisse's own creation. These paintings are infused with southern light, bright colors, and a profusion of decorative patterns. They emanate a hothouse atmosphere suggestive of a harem.
In 1929, Matisse temporarily stopped painting easel pictures. He then traveled to America to sit on the jury of the 29th Carnegie International and, in 1930, spent some time in Tahiti and New York as well as Baltimore, Maryland and Merion, Pennsylvania. An important collector of modern art, and owner of the largest Matisse holdings in America, Dr. Albert Barnes of Merion, commissioned the artist to paint a large mural for the two-story picture gallery of his mansion. Matisse chose the subject of the dance, a theme that had preoccupied him since his early Fauve masterpiece Bonheur de vivre. The mural (in two versions due to an error in dimensions) was installed in May 1933, and remains in place at the Barnes Foundation (Merion, Pa.). The composition highlighted the simplicity of female figures in exuberant motion against an abstract, almost geometric background. In preparation for the mural, Matisse began using a new technique-that of building up the composition from cutout shapes of previously colored paper. From 1940 onward, the paper cutouts became Matisse's favored exploratory medium and, until the end of his life, the dominant medium of expression.
Another medium that Matisse explored and experimented with throughout his lifetime was drawing. As the most direct expression of the artist's thoughts, drawing often helped Matisse to work out compositional and stylistic problems or new ideas. During the mid-1930's, he created distinctive series of pen-and-ink drawings on the subject of the artist and his model, while in the early 1940's he conceived his famous sequences of Thèmes et Variations, sensitively drawn spare works in elegant, unshaded line, describing simplified forms of female figures or still lifes. In the late 1940's and early '50s, his drawings become bolder, the contour line thicker, the forms even more simplified and devoid of detail. The latest large drawings of acrobats (1951-52), executed with a thick brush placed at the end of a long stick, are made up of contour only. They are contemporaneous with a cutout series of Blue Nudes, and the two mediums seem to represent two different approaches to form and space. The relationship between figure-ground becomes ambiguous and space complements the intended form. The form appears almost sculptural.
Sculpture was another medium pursued by Matisse since his early years, and although independent in expression, it was frequently used to find a solution to pictorial problems or became an inspiration to painting. More than half of Matisse's sculptures were completed between 1900 and 1910; he also frequently worked in series, manipulating the form and simplifying it over the years. Among his best-known works belong the series of four Back reliefs (1903-31), the series of five Jeannetteheads (1910-16), and the Large Seated Nude (1925-29).
Matisse's creativity extended into the area of graphic arts and book illustration, the latter begun when he was already in his sixties, with the illustrations to Stéphane Mallarmé's Poésies (1932), and culminated with the cutout compositions (1943-44) for his book Jazz (published in 1947). But the crowning achievement of Matisse's career was the commission for the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence (1948-51), for which he created all the wall decorations, Stations of the Cross, furniture, stained-glass windows, even the vestments and altar cloths. The beauty and simplicity of this project constituted Matisse's spiritual Gesamtkunstwerk and attested to his creative genius.
Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Quoted From: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History - The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Additional Paintings of Henri Matisse
A Sitting Nude: 1909
The original oil painting titled A Sitting Nude created in 1909 is part of a substantial collection of the artist's works owned by the Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, Grenoble in France. This museum is regarded as the first of its kind because it holds the largest collection of contemporary art works in France: By artists such as Monet, Picasso and George Braque - The collection also includes around fifty oil paintings produced by Matisse.
A Sitting Nude was produced in 1909 around the time when Picasso's Cubism really began to take shape. The graphical method and inverted perspectives which recall the iconic paintings of the Byzantine period - and Cubism - are echoed in the style of this oil painting. In addition the bold colors reflect the defiant canvas art work first created just a few years before by Matisse and his fellow 'Fauves'.
Just one year before this oil painting Matisse also created the monumental 'Red Room' canvas. This was a rebellious time for Parisian artists of whom Matisse was a leader - Indeed A Sitting Nude was a defiant art work in its time. The oil on canvas wall art reproduction of Matisse's A Sitting Nude captures the boldness of the original. Created by a skilled artist with a minimum of fifteen years experience quality and accuracy are assured. A monumental piece historically that would bring vibrant life to any room.
Quoted From: A Sitting Nude - Canvas art - Henri Matisse
A Woman Sitting before the Window: 1905
This huge picture is one of the artist's most ambitious works at a time when he abounded in ambition and seemed able, moreover, to bring off almost everything he put his hand to. Here the color, as monochromatic as it tends to be, rescues the whole from the monotony threatened by the design and makes the monotony itself part of the triumph.
Like so much of Matisse's work in the two years before, the picture contains echoes of Cubism - in the straight up-and-down lines of the main design, and the clustered, parallel curves on the left, with their counter-curves on the right that recall Gauguin; and in the handling of anatomy, especially in the seated, wading bather upper left of center, whose body is cut into cones and rectangles not all of which belong to it. But it is very much Matisse's own kind of Cubism, and the confusions somehow strengthen the whole in spite of themselves. The alternation of vertical bands that make one plane of background and foreground is certainly Matisse's invention, and offers as interesting a solution to certain crucial problems of flat painting as anything in orthodox Cubism.
Clement Greenberg, 1953
Quoted From: Henri Matisse - Grandfathers and Influences
Blue Nude: 1952
Blue Nude, 1952
During 1952, one of Matisse's most prolific late years, he created many ambitious paper cutouts, among them the present Blue Nude. Facing front with arms raised and breasts projecting sideways, the pose recalls various standing odalisques from his Nice period of the 1920's. The simple but effective composition is built up from six disjointed pieces of blue painted paper that seem suspended in space. It represents one of a dozen or so variations on the theme that Matisse created over a period of several months. That same year, his cutouts culminated in the production of The Swimming Pool (Museum of Modern Art, New York), a gigantic, dynamic composition with multiple figures.
The paper cutouts, prepainted with blue gouache, synthesized the intrinsic qualities of both painting and drawing-form, color, and line-and allowed the artist "to draw in paper," as he described it. This new idiom, which he had used for the first time in 1931 (while developing his large composition Dance for Dr. Albert C. Barnes), enabled him to create images in which form and outline were inseparable. During his final years, when illness left him bedridden, the cutouts became virtually his only means of expression, still exuding the master's undiminished inventiveness and creativity.
Blue Nude | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Blue Nude I: 1952
Blue Nude II: 1952
Blue Nude III: 1952
Blue Nude IV: 1952
Blue Nude: Green
Blue Nude Skip: 1952
Blue Nude: Venus
Blue Nude with Amphora
Blue Nude with Amphora and Pomegranates
Blue Nude with Frogs: 1952
Blue Still Life: 1907
Blue Table Cloth: 1909
Once again the artist turned to his favorite piece of fabric, also to be seen in the "Vase, Bottle and Fruit" and somewhat transformed in "The Red Room". Although the fabric was subjugated to Matisse's artistic will, repeatedly changing its colour and pattern, moving now further from, now closer to, the original, it is always easily recognizable.
The artist's love for particular objects runs through many works, and this still life also includes a familiar fruit vase and hot-chocolate pot, seen already in "Crockery on a Table". Matisse took a daring and inspired approach in "Still Life with Blue Tablecloth", as if making use of the full potential of this device of richly patterned fabric descending, sinking down, from top to bottom. Unlike "The Red Room", where the fabric was just one, if striking, form-shaping and emotional element, and where the dialogue with the window was equally important, here the fabric-tablecloth is uncompromisingly the central element, its energetic pattern twisting up across the whole surface of the painting.
It is this play between turquoise blue and the dark, dynamic blue of the pattern which holds the viewer's attention. The chocolate pot and bottle create a tentative sense of space, but neither they nor the edge or opening in the right part of the painting can lessen the intense life of the color surface of the canvas.
From: Still Life with Blue Tablecloth - Henri Matisse
Bouquet (Vase with Two Handles): 1907
"The artist's motif is simple and eternal: a bouquet of fresh flowers stands on a table, a source of joy and a means of decorating an interior. Pure colors and dynamic brushstrokes fill the painting with the breath of life. Matisse took a direct impression of nature as his starting point, but from it he created a whole new world with its own laws rather than a slavish copy of reality.
Hence he depicted no precisely defined interior, included no prosaic details. Making use of color's own objective potential, Matisse contrasted flat areas of color, building up not only a harmonious whole but an effect of space. The cool of the blue concentrated in the central part of the painting introduces depth, while the light-bearing yellow-orange seems to reaffirm the flatness of the painting. The verticals combine with the corner view of the table to establish the spatial coordinates of this interior, an interior with no shadows but entirely filled with light." - the hermitage
From: Matisse @ the Hermitage: Bouquet (Vase with Two Handles) 1907
Bouquet of Flowers on the Veranda: 1912-13
Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Background: 1925-26
Dinner Table: 1897
Dishes and Fruit on a Red and Black Carpet: 1906
Flowers and Ceramic Plate: 1911
Garden at Issy: 1917-1919
Girl with a Black Cat: 1910
Girl with Tulips (Portrait of Jeanne Vaderin): 1910
Greta Moll: 1908
Interior, Nice: 1919
Interior at Collioure: 1905
Interior in Aubergines: 1911-12
Interior with a Bowl with Red Fish: 1914
Interior with a Girl: 1905-06
Interior with a Violin: 1917-18
Interior with a Violin Case: 1918-19
Interior with Etruscan Vase: 1940
Interior with Phonograph: 1924
Joaquina: 1911 - Narodni Gallery, Prague, Czechia.
La Danse with Nasturtiums: 1912. The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia
Lady in Blue: 1937
The model for this composition was Lydia Delectorskaya, a beautiful young Russian émigré who worked closely with Henri Matisse during the last twenty years of his life. Delectorskaya designed the dress shown here after Matisse purchased the sumptuous violet-blue fabric in Paris. The resulting concoction, held together by loose stitches and pins, was intended only for use in Matisse's studio in Nice and appears in several of his paintings of this period.
Quoted From: Philadelphia Museum of Art - Collections Object : Woman in Blue
Lady on the Terrace: ca 1906
Portrait of Michael Stein: 1916
Matisse's only instance of double portraiture is a testament to his close friendship with Sarah and Michael Stein, Bay Area residents who were the artist's most passionate American supporters.
Although the two paintings are nearly identical in size and format, they differ greatly in approach and effect. The portrait of Michael is the more traditional of the two, with its direct, frontal pose and limited palette of yellow ocher and brown with bold, black outlines. It was with Sarah that the artist achieved a bond which transcended that of patron and artist. "She knows my paintings better than I do," Matisse is purported to have said.
When Sarah Stein began to slowly disperse her art collection in the years before her death in 1953, Elise Stern Haas purchased the portrait of Sarah and convinced a Chicago collector, Nathan Cummings, to acquire the portrait of Michael, with the understanding that both would eventually become part of SFMOMA's collection. Mrs. Haas wanted the portraits to remain as a pair in San Francisco, in honor of her close friends and their role in bringing the work of Matisse to the Bay Area.
Quoted From: SFMOMA - Explore Modern Art
Portrait of Sarah Stein: 1916
Of the members of the intellectually stalwart Stein family - Gertrude, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael's wife, Sarah - it was Sarah whose bond with Matisse transcended that of patron/artist and reached a level of spiritual connection. "She knows my paintings better than I do," Matisse is purported to have said.
In the sole instance of double portraiture in his career, Matisse executed bust-length paintings of Sarah and Michael Stein. Though perhaps commissions, the portraits were more likely made in homage to the artist's most passionate American supporters. The two works of art are of comparable size and share a somber palette, but the portrait of Sarah is the more complex of the two.
When Sarah Stein began to slowly disperse her art collection in the years before her death in 1953, Elise Stern Haas purchased the portrait of Sarah and convinced a Chicago collector, Nathan Cummings, to acquire the portrait of Michael, with the understanding that both would eventually become part of SFMOMA's collection. Mrs. Haas wanted the portraits to remain as a pair in San Francisco, in honor of her close friends and their role in bringing the work of Matisse to the Bay Area.
Quoted From: SFMOMA - Explore Modern Art
Large Red Interior: 1948
"Where I got the color red-to be sure, I just don't know," Matisse once remarked. "I find that all these things . . . only become what they are to me when I see them together with the color red." This painting features a small retrospective of Matisse's recent painting, sculpture, and ceramics, displayed in his studio. The artworks appear in color and in detail, while the room's architecture and furnishings are indicated only by negative gaps in the red surface. The composition's central axis is a grandfather clock without hands-it is as if, in the oasis of the artist's studio, time were suspended.
Quoted From: MoMA - The Collection: Henri Matisse - The Red Studio - 1911
Le genou leve: 1922
Leda and the Swan: 1944-46
Leda and the Swan
by W. B. Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
Les Coloquintes: 1915-16
Describing Gourds in 1945, Matisse recalled that he had created "a composition of objects that do not touch-but nonetheless participate in the same intimacy." Its surface reveals that he achieved this effect after repeatedly adjusting and transposing forms. The austerity and monumentality of the canvas are complementary to The Moroccans, also of 1916. These qualities may have helped Matisse develop the luminous aspects of the larger canvas. In Gourds, he explained, he began "to use pure black as a color of light and not as a color of darkness."
Quoted From: MoMA - The Collection: Henri Matisse. Gourds, 1915-16
Les persiennes: 1919
Les toits de Collioure,1905
Les voiliers: 1906
Luxe I: 1907
Lying Nude: 1924
Male Model: 1900
Manila Shawl: 1911
Montalban, Landscape: 1918
Moorish Screen: 1917-21
Moroccan Landscape (Acanthus): 1911-13
Notre Dame: 1914
View of Notre-Dame is an oil painting by Henri Matisse from 1914. Along with works such as Woman on a High Stool, it belongs to the "experimental period" of Matisse's oeuvre. Pentimenti reveal that it was originally painted in a more detailed manner before it was radically simplified into a geometric composition. It was not exhibited until after Matisse's death, but proved a great influence upon later developments in painting.
Quoted From: View of Notre-Dame - Wikipedia
Nude, Spanish Carpet: 1919
Nude (Black and Gold): 1908
"We can arrive at a state of inspired creation only through conscious work," wrote Matisse. In two Hermitage canvases, "Seated Woman" and "Nude. Study", we can see how Matisse worked towards the final, majestic chord of this painting, "Nude. Black and Gold". Matisse was to choose this work to illustrate his writings on art.
Nude in Sunlit Landscape: 1909
Nude on a Blue Cushion: 1924
Nude Sitting in an Armchair: 1926
Nude with a White Towel
Nude's Back: 1918
Odalisca Con Le Magnolie: 1924
Odalisque, Harmony in Red: 1926
Matisse's Oriental fantasy includes a Russian samovar and a green rococo-like table. When he moved to Nice in 1921, the artist set up an alcove with draperies and screens in his apartment to emulate the Moorish interiors he had seen on his travels to Morocco. The model for this painting was the 25 year old Henriette Darricarriere (born 1901); she was also studying violin, piano, ballet, and painting.
Quoted From: Odalisque, or Harmony in Red
Odalisque in a Gauze Skirt: 1929
Odalisque in Red Trousers, ca 1924- 1925
Matisse's ‘odalisques’ display the artist's passion for decorative pattern and motifs. The artist visited the French colonies in North Africa (Algeria in 1906 and Morocco in 1912–13) where the brilliant light, exotic environment and Moorish architecture inspired a new body of work. His odalisques have been described by art historian Roger Benjamin as ‘elaborate fictions’ in which the artist re-created the image of the Islamic harem using French models posed in his Nice apartment. The fabrics, screens, carpets, furnishings and costuming recalled the exoticism of the ‘Orient’ and provided a theme for Matisse's preoccupation with the figure and elaborate pattern.
Quoted From: Henri Matisse - Odalisque in Red Trousers
Odalisque on a Turkish Sofa: 1928
Odalisque with Arms Raised
Odalisque with Raised Arms is a painting by Henri Matisse from 1923. The full title is Odalisque assise aux bras levés, fauteuil rayé vert, which translates as "Odalisque with raised arms sitting on a green striped armchair". It is located in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, which acquired it in 1963 from the art collector Chester Dale.
Quoted From: Odalisque with Raised Arms - Wikipedia
Seated Odalisque: 1928
Delight with intricate pattern or display of sumptuous color can never satisfy a true artist or art lover for long. There is always something more, something beyond or below the surface of what we perceive. For Matisse, sculpture was a primary means to come to terms with the human body underneath the exotic garb. A keen student of Auguste Rodin, Matisse sculpted numerous small figural studies to help him comprehend key aspects in the delineation of the human form. These figures were then cast in bronze.
Quoted From: Art Review - Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters
Standing Odalisque Reflected in a Mirror: 1923
The Cone sisters were two of 13 children from a wealthy family in the textile business, Cone Mills (a supplier of denim to Levi Strauss, among others). Etta and Clarabel, one of the first female medical doctors in the U. S., became intrigued by modern art from their visits to Paris and friendship with Leo and Gertrude Stein (an early modern art collector memorialized in the Picasso painting Portrait of Gertrude Stein).
Although the Cones were old-fashioned in mannerism and dress (sporting full-length skirts after knee-length ones were in style), there was nothing old-fashioned about their early embrace of modern art. Between fall 1905 and winter 1906, the Cones befriended Matisse and Picasso, attended the Salon d'Automne, and purchased their first Matisse painting, Yellow Pottery from Provence, an unfinished piece dated 1905.
Although clearly a work of modern art, this painting is instantly recognizable as a still life, and is one of the subjects - including nudes, portraits and landscapes - included in the Cones' collection of 500 Matisse masterpieces. By the time the New York Armory Show of 1913 introduced modern art to the public at large, the Cones had already amassed a significant collection, including Yellow Pottery and works by Manet, Cezanne, Picasso and Renoir.
The Cones' purchased little artwork from 1906 to 1922, largely due to WWII, but began in the 1920's to acquire Matisse paintings of odalisques, typically scantily-clad women in North African or Middle Eastern attire.
Matisse's 1912-1913 travels to Algeria and Morocco inspired these odalisque paintings, which dominated his work in the 1920's. Among these included in the show are Standing Odalisque Reflected in a Mirror and Seated Odalisque, Left Knee Bent. As daughters of a textile merchant, the Cones were clearly attracted by the vivid, ornate fabrics that hallmark these works.
Quoted From: Famous Paintings Reviewed
Odalisque with a Green Plant and Screen: 1923
Additional Nudes by Henri Matisse
Open Window: 1921
Oriental Rugs: 1906
Pink Nude: 1935
Pink Nude is an important work in the transition to Matisse's later painting style and to his use of cut-outs. This work is the first in which the artist used cut paper to change and shape the image. Also for the first time, Matisse was photographed while working on this piece over a period of several months.
In the 1930's, Matisse became interested in simplifying, flattening and abstracting forms. He reduced the sense of viewpoint. Images became signs for what they represented. Matisse would begin by painting an image and then eliminate detail to create a smooth, flattened area. New emphasis was placed on bright colors and on the spaces between the represented objects.
Pink Nude began as a natural portrait of a reclining woman surrounded by a chair and a vase of flowers. Gradually, Matisse changed the structure of the image by flattening and abstracting the forms and creating a geometric pattern in the background. The woman's body is presented as a series of curves against the geometric grid; this is meant to suggest the extreme opposition between movement and stillness or passion and reason. In painting the vase the same bright pink as the woman's flesh, Matisse may have been suggesting a connection between the earthy, reproductive nature of woman and the vase which holds the growing flowers. The inverted, abstract chair appears as another symbol of fertility and procreation.
This work can be compared to Matisse's Blue Nude as the pink figure's pose is a variation on the earlier work. Pink Nude, however, maintains a more restrained and cooler air than the highly sensual subject of Blue Nude. This new restraint and abstraction marks an important shift in Matisse's work.
Quoted From: Large Reclining Nude by Matisse also known as Pink Nude
Pink Statuette and Pitcher on a Red Chest of Drawers: 1910
Polynesia, The Sea: 1946
Portrait of Mlle Yvonne Landsberg: 1914
Red Fish: 1911
Red Fish and a Sculpture: 1911
Red Fish in Interior: 1912
Henri Matisse said regarding his painting "An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language." He also said "Truth and reality in art do not arise until you no longer understand what you are doing and are capable of but nevertheless sense a power that grows in proportion to your resistance." His style is reflected in this statement "It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character." The way he approached life can be understood in this statement "An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc." Henri Matisse is considered the most important French artist of the 20th century and, along with Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential modernist painters of the last century. A student of the masters of Post-Impressionism, Matisse later made a reputation for himself as the leader of a group of painters known as Les Fauves (Fauvism). Beyond painting, he worked with lithographs and sculpture, and during World War II he did a series of book designs. Henri Matisse was one of the great initiators of the modern art movement and the most outstanding personality of the first revolution in 20th-century art - Fauvism. You can purchase this reproduction oil painting framed or unframed in any size and it will certainly grace your wall for many years to come.
Quoted From: Red Fish in Interior by Henri Matisse
Red Interior Still Life on a Blue Table: 1947
Satyr and Nymph: 1909
Sea at Collioure: 1906
From the opening of Hilary Spurling's two-volume Life of Matisse:
Henri Matisse often compared his development as a painter to the growth of a seed. "It's like a plant that takes off once it is firmly rooted," he said, looking back at the end of his life: "the root presupposes everything else." He himself was rooted in northeastern France, on the edge of the great Flanders plain where his ancestors had lived for centuries before the convulsive social and industrial upheavals of the nineteenth century slowly prised them loose. His father's family were weavers. Henri Emile Benoit Matîsse was born in a tiny, tumbledown weaver's cottage on the rue du Chêne Arnaud in the textile town of Le Cateau-Cambrésis at eight o'clock in the evening on the last night of the year, 31 December 1869. The house had two rooms, a beaten earth floor and a leaky roof. Matisse said long afterwards that rain fell through a hole above the bed in which he was born.
His parents, who worked in Paris, were paying a New Year visit to their hometown. They called their first child Henri after his father, following a family tradition that went back four generations.'
The Unknown Matisse: A Life of Henri Matisse: The Early Years, 1869-1908, by Hilary Spurling (1998)
Quoted From: The Sea at Collioure (La Mer à Collioure)
Seville Still Life: 1911
Like "Spanish Still Life", also in the Hermitage, this work was painted in Spain, which the artist visited in October 1910. Matisse worked on these compositions in his hotel room in Seville, and we can identify its characteristic interior in both works - the furniture and the items on the table, the pot with the geranium and the two ewers. But the artist transforms the room with Spanish shawls, sets the canvas off in a complex and engrossing play of line and color, making it resonate with decorative and emotional notes.
The atmosphere of southern exoticism in "Seville Still Life" is perfectly expressed in the whimsical ornament of the emerald sofa, which includes flowers and birds, the bright flowering geranium, the small dark pattern of the yellow shawl on the chair, the contrasts and exchanges between intense areas of color and inventive ornament. Everything reinforces the suffocating garishness of the interior, but here the light green curtain introduces a hint of a breath of fresh air and makes the unseen window almost tangible.
Quoted From: Seville Still Life - Henri Matisse - from Hermitage Museum
Sitting Woman: 1919
A Nude Lying on her Back: 1927
A Nude Standing before an Open Door: 1936
Excerpt from The Matisse Stories - "Medusa's Ankles"
She had walked in one day because she had seen the Rosy Nude through the plate glass. That was odd, she thought, to have that lavish and complex creature stretched voluptuously above the coat rack, where one might have expected the stare, silver and supercilious or jetty and frenzied, of the model girl. They were all girls now, not women. The rosy nude was pure flat colour, but suggested mass. She had huge haunches and a monumental knee, lazily propped high. She had round breasts, contemplations of the circle, reflections on flesh and its fall.
She had asked cautiously for a cut and blow-dry. He had done her himself, the owner, Lucian of 'Lucian's', slender and soft-moving, resembling a balletic Hamlet with full white sleeves and tight black trousers. The first few times she came it was the trousers she remembered, better than his face, which she saw only in the mirror behind her own, and which she felt a middle-aged disinclination to study. A woman's relation with her hairdresser is anatomically odd. Her face meets his belt, his haunches skim her breathing, his face is far away, high and behind. His face had a closed and monkish look, rather fine, she thought, under soft, straight, dark hair, bright with health, not with added fats, or so it seemed.
'I like your Matisse,' she said, the first time.
He looked blank.
'The pink nude. I love her.'
'Oh, that. I saw it in a shop. I thought it went exactly with the colour-scheme I was planning.'
Their eyes met in the mirror.
'I thought she was wonderful,' he said. 'So calm, so damn sure of herself, such a lovely color, I do think, don't you? I fell for her, absolutely. I saw her in this shop in the Charing Cross Road and I went home, and said to my wife, I might think of placing her in the salon, and she thought nothing to it, but the next day I went back and just got her. She gives the salon a bit of class. I like things to have class.'
In those days the salon was like the interior of a rosy cloud, all pinks and creams, with creamy muslin curtains here and there, and ivory brushes and combs, and here and there - the mirror-frames, the little trollies - a kind of sky blue, a dark sky blue, the colour of the couch or bed on which the rosy nude spread herself. Music played - Susannah hated piped music - but this music was tinkling and tripping and dropping, quiet seraglio music, like sherbet. He gave her coffee in pink cups, with a pink and white wafer biscuit in the saucer. He soothed her middle-aged hair into a cunningly blown and natural windswept sweep, with escaping strands and tendrils, softening brow and chin. She remembered the hairdressing shop of her wartime childhood, with its boarded wooden cubicles, its advertisements for Amami shampoo, depicting ladies with blonde pageboys and red lips, in the forties bow which was wider than the thirties rosebud. Amami, she had always supposed, rhymed with smarmy and was somehow related to it. When she became a linguist, and could decline to verb to love in several languages, she saw suddenly one day that Amami was an erotic invitation, or command. Amami, love me, the blondes said, under their impeccably massed rolls of hair. Her mother had gone draggled under the chipped dome of the hairdryer, bristling with metal rollers, bobby-pins and pipe-cleaners. And had come out under a rigidly bouncy 'et', like a mountain of wax fruit, that made her seem artificial and embarrassing, drawing attention somehow to the unnatural whiteness of her false teeth.
They had seemed like some kind of electrically shocking initiation into womanhood, those clamped domes descending and engulfing. She remembered her own first 'set', the heat and buzzing, and afterwards a slight torn tenderness of the scalp, a slight tindery dryness to the hair.
In the sixties and seventies she had kept a natural look, had grown her hair long and straight and heavy, a chestnut-glossy curtain, had avoided places like this. And in the years of her avoidance, the cubicles had gone, everything was open and shared and above board, blow-dryers had largely replaced the hoods, plastic spikes the bristles.
She had had to come back because her hair began to grow old. The ends split, the weight of it broke, a kind of frizzed fur replaced the gloss. Lucian said that curls and waves - following the lines of the new unevenness - would dissimulate, would render natural-looking, that was, young, what was indeed natural, the death of the cells. Short and bouncy was best, Lucian said, and proved it, tactfully. He stood above her with his fine hands cupped lightly round her new bubbles and wisps, like the hands of a priest round a Grail. She looked, quickly, quickly, it was better than before, thanked him and averted her eyes.
She came to trust him with her disintegration.
Quoted From: The Books: "The Matisse Stories" - 'Medusa's Ankles'
A Nude with her Heel on her Knee: 1936
In 1925 Matisse was made chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and in 1927 he received the first prize at the Carnegie International Exhibition at Pittsburgh. He produced paintings, drawings, book illustrations (etchings and lithographs), sculptures (he made 54 bronzes altogether), ballet sets, and designs for tapestry and glass. He spent the war years in the south of France. In 1944 Pablo Picasso arranged for him to be represented in the Salon d'Automne to celebrate the Liberation.Matisse considered the culmination of his lifework to be his design and decoration of the Chapel of the Rosary for the Dominican nuns at Vence (1948-1951). He designed the black-and-white tile pictures, stained glass, altar crucifix, and vestments.
A Pink Nude Seated: 1935
Odalisque with Red Pants, 1921
Aicha and Lorette: 1917
Annelies, White Tulips and Anemones: 1944
Annelies, White Tulips and Anemones is a painting by Henri Matisse from 1944.
The painting depicts a woman smiling at a table with flowers aligned on it. The painting is currently in the Honolulu Academy of Arts. During the early to mid-1940's Matisse was in poor health. Eventually by 1950 he stopped painting in favor of his paper cutouts. This is an example of one of the final group of oil paintings in Matisse's career.
Quoted From: Annelies, White Tulips and Anemones - Wikipedia
Blue Dress Reflected in a Mirror: 1937
Blue Eyes: 1934
Branch of Lilacs: 1914
Greek Torso with Flowers: 1919
Dancer Seated on a Table: 1942
Head of Lorette: 1916-17
Henri Matisse's interaction with a model known simply as Lorette brought about a vivid breakthrough in the artist's approach and style.
Amid the grimness of a war-gripped November 1916, a new model came to the Paris studio of Henri Matisse. Her name was Lorette - sometimes spelled Laurette - and she had been born in Italy and made her living posing for artists such as Matisse.
Lorette was then most likely in her late twenties to early thirties, while Matisse was approaching his forty-seventh birthday. Matisse had already begun to build his reputation as a modern painter, particularly through his previous association with the Fauves, and his relationship with Lorette would open even more creative channels.
The Italian Woman: 1916
In Matisse's initial portrait of Lorette, she appears somewhat nervous and not at ease. Interestingly enough, Matisse simply labeled the painting The Italian Woman, and did not use the name Lorette or Laurette in the title like he would in later works. In looking at The Italian Woman, one gets a sense of the model's physical and emotional discomfort, along with the general perception of drafty winter studios and an artist not quite sure what to express about the female seated before him.
As the winter passed, however, the level of intimacy and connection between Matisse and Lorette began to deepen. The uncertain and tenuous beginning works like The Italian Woman and The Painter and His Model moved forward to portraits of Lorette in more relaxed or playful poses, with the use of costumes also introduced to the artistic milieu.
Head of Lorette with Curls: 1917
Matisse and His Model
The Black Shawl (Lorette): 1918
Lorette was not only willing to put on the clothing of various visions of inspiration - such as a dancer, a harem girl, or a reclining temptress - but she enjoyed playing up the persona of whatever identity she happened to be at that moment. Additionally, Lorette was responding to Matisse's fascination with and love for brightly colored and patterned fabrics by donning them in headdresses, robes, and blouses.
Matisse had not approached painting in this manner before and soon found it to be excitingly obsessive. He produced many Lorette-centered works during late 1916 through 1917, showing a significant shift from his prior style's more jarring colors and shapes. Through Lorette, Matisse developed a richer, flowing sense of color and line, as well as an increased intimacy toward his subject. In Lorette with Cup of Coffee in particular, beautiful creamy tones and smooth lines unite to show the model's sloe-eyed and inviting gaze.
Laurette with a Coffee Cup: 1917
Lorette apparently felt a unique confidence and ease around Matisse, and she was even so uninhibited that she would go to the window naked to stretch herself during her studio breaks. This apparently attracted several interested male observers, most of them policemen in a nearby station. Matisse's son Jean was another ardent admirer of Lorette, though the elder Matisse reportedly talked the younger out of proposing marriage to his model.
Endings and Beginnings
Laurette with a White Blouse: 1916
While the seductively dark-haired Lorette's relations with Matisse may have seemed bound to take a sexual turn, it is most likely that Matisse confined his passion to his portraits. Matisse in general was an intense yet controlled - and married - man who probably preferred to project strong desires onto canvas or paper instead, where the results would be tangible, salable, and the best expression of his artistic growth.
Like many heated romantic affairs, after a certain period of time and obsession, the parties involved went their separate ways and did not meet again. Following some fifty portraits of the object of his creative fancies - and a few additional paintings involving Lorette's sister Annette - Matisse headed south to Nice. Matisse usually wintered in the warmer part of France, seeking more color and light, and in this particular winter with his previous Lorette work behind him, the artist found himself primed to begin another major phase in his career known as the Nice Period.
Lorette with a Red Dress: 1917
The Elusive Lorette's Legacy
The fate and later life of Lorette is a yet unsolved mystery, with speculation that she perhaps succumbed to the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. Whether she lived long enough to witness Matisse's 1951 retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art is also unknown, but despite the ultimate disappearance of Lorette, without the provocative model from Italy, Matisse might not have evolved into the same famed artist that much of the world reveres today.
Laurette in Green in a Pink Chair: 1917
Quoted From: Henri Matisse and Lorette: The Colorful Dynamic Between Painter and Mode
Girl with a Fur Coat, Yellow Background: 1944
Helen with a Precious Stone: 1937
Interior in Yellow: 1946
Nude on a Blue Background: 1936
Marguerite Matisse Duthuit
Daughter of Henri Matisse and his model Caroline Joblaud. She was raised by Matisse and his wife Amélie and often sat as a model for her father. She married art critic Georges Duthuit.
During the Second World Was she was active in the resistance, but she was arrested by the Gestapo and tortured. She was on her way to the concentration camp in Ravensbrück, but she managed to escape after the train that transported her was halted during a bomb attack by the allied forces.
At the time of her death she had almost finished a monumental catalogue of her father's works.
Mlle Matisse in a Scotch Plaid Coat: 1918
Marguerite Wearing a Hat: 1918
Portrait of Marguerite: 1906-07
Marguerite Matisse: 1914
Head, White and Rose
This Matisse painting was based on an earlier portrait of his daughter Marguerite that was originally painted more naturalistically then was later reworked using a grid. The paintings is influenced by Cubism but did not try to be a Cubist work in form or try to show multiple angles of view.
Quoted From: Art Blog and Links to Inspire - Head, White and Rose by Henri Matisse
Marguerite Matisse - Sleeping: 1920
Portrait de Marguerite: 1905-07
Marguerite in Three Poses
(Three Studies of Marguerite): ca 1906-1910
Spanish Still Life
(Seville II): 1911
Standing Nude with Raised Arms: 1947
Still Life with a Head: 1916
Still Life with a Magnolia: 1941
Still Life with Oranges: 1913
Still Life with Oysters: 1940
Still Life with Shellfish: 1940
Studio, Quay of Saint Michel: 1916
Studio under the Eaves: 1903
Study of a Nude: 1899
Sunlit Interior: 1942
Tahiti Landscape: 1931
The Algerian Woman: 1909
The Arm: 1938
The Artist and his Model: 1919
The Back Series
The Ballet Dancer, Harmony in Grey: 1927
The Ballet Dancer La danseuse: ca 1927
The Bank: 1907
The Bay of Nice: 1918
The Black Table: 1919
The Blue Window: 1911
The Casbah Door: 1912
The Circus: 1947
The Daisies: 1939
The Dark Door: 1942
The Dream: 1935
The Egyptian Curtain: 1948
The Hindu Pose: 1923
The Japanese: ca 1901
The Lorrain Chair: 1919
The Lying Nude: 1906
The Moroccan Amido Left Hand Panel of a Triptych: 1912
The Moroccan in Green: 1912-13
The Moroccans: 1916
The Music Lesson: 1917
The Painter's Family: 1911
The Painting Lesson: 1919
The Piano Lesson: 1916
The Red Table: 1939
Romanian Green Blouse: 1939
The Rumanian Blouse: 1940
The Silence that Lives in Houses: 1947
The Three Sisters: 1916
The White Feather: 1919
(Interior with Forget Me Nots): 1916
Three Sisters Triptych Right: 1917
Tulips and Oysters on Black Background
"Two Girls with Yellow and Red Background: 1947
Two Women: 1939
Vase of Irises: 1912
View of Collioure: 1908
Woman at the Fountain: 1917
Woman before Aquarium: 1921
Woman in a Purple Coat: 1937
Woman in Green with a Carnation: 1909
Woman in Yellow and Blue with a Guitar: 1939
Woman on a Dark Background: 1942
Woman on a Sofa, Yellow and Blue Background: 1936
Woman on a Sofa: 1920-22
Woman with a Flowered Hat: 1919
Woman with a Veil: 1942
Woman with a White Dress: 1933-34
Woman with Oriental Dress: 1910
Woman with Umbrella: 1919-20
Young Girl in a Green Dress: 1921
Young Girl in Rose: 1942
Young Girl with a Yellow Sofa: 1940
Zorah Standing: 1912
Drawings and Graphic Works
"I have always considered drawing not as an exercise of particular dexterity… but as a means deliberately simplified so as to give simplicity and spontaneity to the expression, which should speak without clumsiness, directly to the mind of the spectator."
"Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence."
"If I trust my drawing hand it is because in training it to serve me, I forced myself never to let it take precedence over my feelings."
Matisse considered his drawing to be a very intimate means of expression. The method of artistic execution - whether it was charcoal, pencil, crayon, etcher's burin, lithographic tusche or paper cut - varied according to the subject and personal circumstance. His favorite subjects were evocative or erotic - the female form, the nude figure or a beautiful head of a favorite model. Other themes relate to the real or imagined world of both Oceania and the Caribbean -- the lagoons, the coral and the faces of beautiful women from these far off lands. Still other subjects were inspired by classical mythology.
Matisse often made drawings to inform his paintings and sculptures, feeling that these drawings should be quick, gestural exercises that captured the form and emotion evoked in him by the subject. As the most direct expression of the artist's thoughts, drawing often helped Matisse to work out compositional and stylistic problems or new ideas. During the mid-1930s, he created distinctive series of pen-and-ink drawings on the subject of the artist and his model, while in the early 1940s he conceived his famous sequences of Thèmes et Variations, sensitively drawn spare works in elegant, unshaded line, describing simplified forms of female figures or still lifes. In the late 1940s and early '50s, his drawings become bolder, the contour line thicker, the forms even more simplified and devoid of detail. The latest large drawings of acrobats (1951-52), executed with a thick brush placed at the end of a long stick, are made up of contour only. They are contemporaneous with a cutout series of Blue Nudes, and the two mediums seem to represent two different approaches to form and space. The relationship between figure-ground becomes ambiguous and space complements the intended form. The form appears almost sculptural.
Matisse was also involved with printmaking for more than fifty years. From 1900 until his death in 1954 he completed more than eight hundred intaglios, lithographs, woodcuts, linoleum cuts, and monotypes. His attitude toward printmaking was a somewhat unconventional one in that for him it was a personal process, an extension of drawing, and a means of unwinding after long and intense periods of painting. As such, there were several distinct times during which Matisse was particularly active in the medium: 1906, 1914, and during the 1920's. In 1929 alone he made more than one hundred etchings and dry points.
The intimate nature of Matisse's printmaking is visible in his working process. Unlike many artists who depended on close relationships with master printers in their workshops, Matisse spent more time on an etching press installed in his studio that allowed him to print when and as he liked. This intimacy is also evident in his choice of subjects, which were mostly portraits of friends, family, and fellow artists, as well as images of female figures and nudes, including a great number of odalisques made after a trip to North Africa.
Matisse's etchings and dry points were executed on a small scale with linear fluidity, giving them a sense of immediacy and spontaneity, like pages in a sketchbook. Alternately, his lithographs were on a larger scale and made grander statements. These lithographs exploited the tonal possibilities of the medium that allowed Matisse to achieve effects of volume and depth.
Quoted From: Selected Drawings and Graphic Work by Henri Matisse
Bather with Leaves: 1942
Composition with Standing Nude and Black Fern: 1948
Face Flower: 1948
Drawing Face Flower: 1948
Face Mask: 1948
Head of a Woman: 1948
Nude Seated with Crossed Legs: 1941-42
Nude with a Blue Cushion near a Fireplace: 1925
Odalisque with Striped Pants: 1925
Pink Face: 1948
Portrait of a Young Girl: 1935
Repose on the Banquette: 1929
Drawing Study for Pink Nude: 1935
The Afternoon: 1941-42
The Couch: 1935
The Persian: 1929
Drawing Variations of L Series: 1942
Woman with a Hood: 1939
Young Nude Woman: 1948
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