Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Artist of the Week and ABC Wednesday, Letter M - Matisse

Henri Matisse 
(1869 – 1954) 


Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Picasso, as one of the two seminal artists of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he was initially labelled a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.

 Woman Reading

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.

 The Maid

Nude with a White Wash Towel

            "What interests me most is neither still life nor landscape: it is the human figure."

 Blue Nude

Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) 

                   "Seek the strongest color effect possible... the content is of no importance."

(the artist's daughter)

Madame Matisse
(the artist's first wife)

"When I put a green, it it not grass. When I put a blue, it is not the sky."


Seville Still-Life

"Expression, for me, does not reside in passions glowing in a human face or manifested by violent movement. The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive; the place occupied by the figures, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything has its share."

 The Goldfish

                                             "I wouldn't mind turning into a vermilion goldfish."

 The White Feather

Odalesque with Red Pants

Odalesque with Gray Pants

"Creativity takes courage."

The Romanian Green Blouse

"The portrait is one of the most curious art forms. It demands special qualities in the artist, and an almost total kinship with the model."

Still-Life with Shellfish
"I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime, which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost me...."
"There are always flowers for those who want to see them."

(guouace on paper cut and pasted) 
                              "Cutting into color reminds me of the sculptor's direct carving."

La Gerbe

Blue Nude

The Drawings

"Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence."






visit Roger for more interpretations


  1. Very impressive for "M" day. Did you ever visit the Matisse Chapel in Vence?

  2. I love the more abstracted work he did later in his life. I hadn't seen any of it before.

  3. A great post for the M Day! Really enjoyed all the information about Matisse. I really love much of his work -- some of it is a little far out for me, but I think that's true with a lot of artists, particularly modern artists. You can't deny the talent though! Hope your week is going well, Gina! Have a great evening!


  4. What a visual treat! I love the artwork from this era especially the drawings done by Matisse. They're simple and timeless. Thank you for this great post :-)

  5. Matisse = awesome. These paintings are so beautiful.


  6. great set of Matisse artwork.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  7. all great

    but 'Dance' is a world treasure image.

    He presaged 60's graphics too!

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

  8. Beautiful pieces of art. I wouldn't mind having any of those on my wall.

  9. Fine exploration of my favorite artist, Henri Matisse! :)

  10. Art education, extraodinaire! Your ABC blogs just get better and better and this on Matisse is very special.
    Helen Mac, ABC team

  11. This is a wonderful overview of his oeuvre :-)
    I never personally enjoyed Matisse's work as much as some others but his genius can't be denied.

  12. Thank you all so much for your appreciation of the work of Matisse. He is one of my top ten favorite modern artists.

    Helen: ABC Wednesday has provided me with further incentive to post about artists I enjoy. Thank you for making it possible. I'm really enjoying my participation!

    Peace and love,

  13. Fantastic selection of The Man's work, Young Lady!

    I always think of "the masters" as being from such a distant time, it struck me to learn that our lives overlapped, if even for a little bi...

  14. Thank you for your Matisse post and the beautiful illustrations of his work.


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