Skip to main content

May 13 Art Minute: Henri Matisse, Flowers

Art Minute, Art of the Week, toledo museum of art
Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) Flowers. Oil on canvas, 1924. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1935.50

Flowers belongs to a series of sumptuous still lifes that Matisse painted in 1924–25, each set in studio interiors. In these paintings, the principal 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.