Developments in the 19th Century


Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map



(Between Romanticism and Expressionism)

Henri Matisse




C o n t e n t s:
Symbolism in France  
Synthetism Pont-Aven school
Intimism Nabis
Aman-Jean Edmond  Anquetin Louis
Bernard Emile Bonnard Pierre
Carriere Eugene Claudel Camille
Denis Maurice Derain Andre
Dongen Kees van Dufy Raoul
Fantin-Latour Henri Filiger Charles
Gauguin Paul Hawkins Louis  
Jacquemin Jeanne   Lacombe Georges
Levy-Dhurmer Lucien Maillol Aristide
Matisse Henri Marquet Albert
Maurin Charless Maxence Edgar
Moreau Gustaves   Mossa Gustave Adolphe 
Osbert Alphonce Point Armand 
Puvis de Chavannes Pierre  Ranson Paul
Redon Odilon Rodin Auguste
Rouault Georges Rousseau Henri
Roussel Ker Xaviers Seon Alexandre
Serusier Paul Vallotton Felix
Vlaminck Maurice
Vuillard Edouard




  BRASSAI Matisse and his model, 1939    

Matisse Henri 

(see collection)



The Budgerigar and Siren, 1952


Vision of Earthly Paradise

Standing Blue Nude, Blue Nude, Skipping, Blue Nude with Green Stockings
(it is said that supplies of blue gouached paper were lacking that day,
so the legs were finished with green and the arms with red)
are stepping-stones in the creation of the great compositions.
They recur in The Swimming Pool and each in turn was tried as a counterpart
to the budgerigar before the "siren" was chosen in their place.



Matisse & Nude Kneeling in Front of a Mirror


Henri Matisse

Matisse's dining room at the hotel Regina, 1952



A grave difficulty faced the critics: this new way of painting could not be related to any that had come before. It was a new approach; it had never been used before. It could not even be compared to the Cubist collages, which were intended to present the spectacle of a geometry created from various and unexpected materials. Nor to the biomorphic signs of Arp or the abstract vocabulary of Kandinsky. Yet it was enough to recall the early Matisse, the fauve who wanted a "work born of the untrammelled confrontation of colours". Dance and Music executed for Shchukin, and the Dance commissioned by Dr Barnes, the latter designed by pinning paper cut-outs, should have given the game away; all of these exhibited wide surfaces free of small-scale colour. As to sculpting in colour, we need only put the plate from Jazz entitled White Torso and Blue Torso alongside the Small Torso and Small Thin Torso of 1929  to see how it is done.

Only a Matisse who had already mastered both sculpture and painting could be so daring as to apply the technique of the sculptor to the substance of painting, and carve a block of pure colour. It was the more natural for him because drawing with a pair of scissors implied no real change in his aesthetic. "There is no discontinuity," he explained, "between my former paintings and my cut-outs; only with more absoluteness and more abstraction, I have attained a form filtered down to the essential, and, of the object that I formerly presented in the complexity of its space, I have retained the sign that is sufficient and necessary to make it exist in its own form and for the whole in which I have conceived it."
In a 1945 text for Verve, entitled "On Colour", Matisse wrote about Ingres and Delacroix: "Both express themselves by 'arabesques' and by 'colour'." He had discovered a point common to two very different painters. It was a point dear to his heart, and he detected it in others: "Gauguin and Van Gogh will later be seen to have lived by the same rhythm: arabesques and colour!" But before Matisse, no-one had taken the association between colour and arabesques so far, to the point of reducing the canvas to these two modes of expression. Till then, the draughtsman and colourist had complemented each other in a more or less equal partnership; now they could work together on an equal footing, in an osmosis in which each maintained the autonomy of his vision. In this way, Matisse remade for himself Braque's dictum that "Form and colour do not merge: there is simultaneity".

Jean Arp
Wassily Kandinsky





Small Torso
and Small Thin Torso
(left), White Torso and Blue Torso (right)






  Venus with Shell    


Emblems of the Female Body

The "Blue Nudes", veritable emblems of the female body, act on the intimate feelings like the stroke of a gong, their power the greater for their simple inner form. The interstices of white suggest their kinship to sculpture. One thinks of the Lao-Tzu's words in the Tao Te Ching:
"Clay serves to make the vase.
But only the space within allows
its use."



  Nude Nude

  Standing Nude (Katia) Zulma

  Nude with Oranges Large Nude


The Swimming Pool, 1952




Matisse Henri 

(see collection)
  Blue Nude  

  Blue Nude  Blue Nude 

  Blue Nude  Blue Nude 


Woman and Apes


  Blue Nude Woman with Amphora

  Blue Nude Blue Nude

The Idea of Immensity

Dance is a constant in the work of Matisse, and a whole series of canvases and cut-outs later derived from it. They are all works of extreme plastic contortion and rigorous composition. The human element is trimmed, tempered, if not indeed eliminated. Above all, Matisse sought to give, within a confined space, the idea of immensity.

Matisse Henri 

(see collection)

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