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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Henri Matisse and fauvism


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Carl Van Vechten


Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was a French artist best known for his contributions to Fauvism. Art expert Anthea Callen said,


"Unlike the essentially naturalistic color opposition of yellow blue/violet which characterized the Impressionist color, Matisse began to exploit the more abstract, and... vibrant, oppositions of red-green. Because red and green colors are the closest in tone of all the complimentary color pairs, they set up a dazzling sensation which gives its own light and brilliance, without any direct imitation of natural effects of light." (Techniques of the Impressionist, 1982)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Matisse.


Color and light


"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..." (Quoted in The Christina Science Monitor by Theodore F. Wolff)


"A picture must possess a real power to generate light... for a long time now I've been conscious of expressing myself through light or rather in light." (Quoted in Matisse by Pierre Schneider)


"A little while ago I took a nap under an olive tree and the color harmonies I saw were so touching. It's like a paradise you have no right to analyze, but you are a painter, for God's sake! Nice is so beautiful!" (Letter to a friend, 1918)


"To paint an autumn landscape I will not try to remember what colors suit this season, I will only be inspired by the sensation that the season gives me; the icy clearness of the sour blue sky will express the season just as well as the tonalities of the leaves." (Notes of a Painter, 1908)




"Compositon is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter's command to express his feelings. In a picture every part will be visible and will play the role conferred upon it, be it principal or secondary. All that is not useful in the picture is detrimental. A work of art must be harmonious in its entirety: any superfluous detail would replace some other essential detail in the mind of the spectator." (Notes of a Painter, 1908)




"Slowly I discovered the secret of my art. It consists of a meditation on nature, on the expression of a dream which is always inspired by reality." (Interview with Jacques Guenne, L'Art Vivant, 1925)


"There are flowers everywhere for those who want to see them." (Jazz, 1947)