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The complete Matisse


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Pierre Schneider's book is considered to be one of the best comprehensive books on Matisse. Includes in depth analyses of artworks.

Fauvism 1 2 origins 1 2 works 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 analysis 1 2 3
works 4 Open window, Collioure

In the summer of 1905, Matisse and Derain painted together at Collioure in 'a golden light that eliminates shadows.' Using pure complementary colours applied in flat, vigorous strokes they achieved an equivalent rather than a description of light. With their high key colours these pictures dazzle the viewer with Mediterranean sunshine. When a neighbouring collector showed them some south seas pictures by Gauguin, they saw their theories of subjective colour confirmed, and fauvism was born.

Matisse painted Open Window, Collioure from the view out the window of his apartment in Collioure, on the southern coast of France. The fauvist result is a continuous with Matisse's concern for the sensation, the emotional response to the world with a minimum of optical information about it.

Henri Matisse Open window, Collioure
Henri Matisse Open window, Collioure 1905 oil on canvas 55.3 × 46 cm

Photo of Collioure window
A photograph of the window in Collioure that Matisse painted for Open window, Collioure

A detail of Collioure shows Matisse's thick luxurious paint application, with just enough detail to identify the objects. The objects in Matisse's paintings are important because the scene and its contents are essential to the feeling that he wanted to convey. It is not just an internal state of mind that his paintings communicate but rather an emotional response to the physical world, to the scene depicted. Matisse's painting did not evolve into the purely abstract even though he has abstracted the essence of his subject for his purpose.

The short dabs of paint produce a sense of rhythmic motion that accounts for the swaying masts of the boats. Similarly, the foliage suggests a fluttering movement caused by a breeze. 

Detail of Henri Matisse Open window, Collioure
Detail of Henri Matisse Open window, Collioure 1905


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