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Monday, 22 July 2019

Painting of the Month (88) July 2019: Matisse

Open Window, Collioure. Henry Matisse 1905

HENRI  MATISSE was a member of the Fauvist group (‘Wild Beasts’) of painters that emerged in the very early twentieth century. The characteristics of their work were the use of vivid, unmixed colours, often in complimentary pairs; red-green, blue-orange etc. often in a non-representative way. This had the effect of making each colour stand out more vividly. They would also utilise a flat-canvas effect in a modernist manner. Picasso and many of his contemporaries admired the colourist aspects of Matisse’s work (you might say that Picasso was more about form than colour I suppose).
This is the view from Matisse’s home in the south of France. It is in no way a complex painting but, for me, in conveys a very strong sense of ‘presence’; I can feel the warmth, hear the sea-birds and sense the boats bobbing about on a calm sea. He often returned to the open window theme, both here and in other locations. The open windows invite us into the scene.
When the work was shown at the Autumn Salon in 1905 it was met with critical disdain and public derision but it is now seen as a very important work that pointed to a new direction in visual interpretation. I just love it! I have shown some more of his work below.

I'm listening to John Prine and Iris DeMent singing John's hilarious song, In Spite of OurselvesListen here.


Parnassus said...

Hello Bazza, I admire the Open Window painting very much. I like paintings that show both architecture and nature (or at least the outdoors). The nautical view is very appropriate for Matisse's picture, but for reality I prefer windows that do not look out over wide open water--just my preference.

bazza said...

Jim: I think there is definitely a psychological element to pictures that draw you in the vision. For me, an open window is an irresistible invitation. Artists such as the wonderful John Singer Sargeant and many others have shown us that!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Over the years, I have been to two or three Matisse exhibitions at our beautiful Philadelphia Museum of Art. They have always been wonderful, and yes, the colors (I am a simple person) are what draws me to his work.

I forgot to listen to your music, but, I will do this after I finish this comment.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I listened to the John Prine song and it was fun. It is not a video, though, that most would come across. Thank you for giving me a smile.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - I'm sure I've never been to a Matisse exhibition - at some stage I must make a plan. Thanks for noting his main thrust in his art here ... and yes I too enjoyed Prine's song ... fun - cheers Hilary

Hels said...

I loved the Fauvists, but I agree with you that Matisse's three landscapes above were not as strong or complex as they might have been.

But have a look at some of Matisse's portraits .. which were very strong:
Woman with a Hat, 1905
Red Madras Headdress, 1907
Odalisque, 1923
Small Odalisque in Purple Robe, 1937 etc

bazza said...

Arleen: Colour does have an immediate emotional appeal which I too find attracts me. John Prine and Iris DeMent make a great team!

bazza said...

Hilary: You must! It's a wonderful experience. Glad you liked the song too.

bazza said...

Hels: I feel that he is underrated as a portraitist. Those are all magnificent pictures which could only have been painted by him - or Derain!