Jan. 23 Art Minute: Henri Matisse, ‘Flowers’

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Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954), Flowers. Oil on canvas, 1924. 39 5/8 x 32 1/4 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1935.50. Gallery 6

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954), Flowers. Oil on canvas, 1924. 39 5/8 x 32 1/4 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1935.50. Gallery 6

Flowers belongs to a series of sumptuous still lifes that Matisse painted in 1924–1925, each set in studio interiors. In these paintings, the principle subject—in this case, a ceramic vase of bright flowers—is arranged on a patterned tablecloth against a background decorated with patterned wallpaper and examples of Matisse’s work, here an unframed drawing of a woman.

Matisse constantly sought balance and harmony of color and form in his work. Paintings that seem spontaneous and quickly executed were actually the result of a painstaking process of small shifts and adjustments until he achieved the relationships he desired.


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