Tag Archives: Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse – Interior with a Young Girl (Girl Reading)

13 Aug

“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.”

(Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art)

Henri Matisse, Interior with a Young Girl (Girl Reading), 1904–05

Matisse’s girl in the painting is a quiet little girl, completely absorbed in the book that she is reading. She is seated at the table, perhaps in the dining room. We are somewhat able to decipher the space around her. A bowl of fruits at the table alongside a jug of water. Clearly it wasn’t Matisse’s intention to portray this interior scene in a realistic manner. So what was his intention; playing with colour and appealing to our senses? Perhaps. Matisse is not one of my favourite painters, but when I need my dose of colours and vibrancy I go to Fauvists and their leader Matisse just as the junkie goes to his dealer at the streetcorner. Colour truly has power to uplift us; just look at all the gorgeous, vibrant shades of yellow, red, turquoise, pink, blue and green. So much life and vivacity going on in a single canvas! It’s so childlike and unpretentious. The girl in the painting is Matisse’s ten year old daughter Marguerite who was the daughter of Matisse’s model Caroline Joblaud. Portrait of a girl reading brings to mind the many portraits of children by Renoir who was Matisse’s friend and an artist he looked up to. But in Matisse’s painting the little girl isn’t just a pretty girl in a cozy bourgeoius interior, no, it seems that the colourful patchwork interior composed of contrasting and complementing pathes of colour is actually the interior of Marguerite’s playful, imaginative mind. I imagine that, as she is reading the book, the world around her is transformed accordingly and all the magic of the words and scenes described therein suddently come to life because Marguerite has the power of imagination; she has the power to transcend the ugliness of reality, its dullness and lifelessness, and paint it in all the colours her heart desires, to make it whimsical. And clearly Matisse nurtured his inner child throughout his life, for even his collage cut-outs which he was making in his old days are totally child-like and playful. Matisse transformed the ordinary into extraordinary in this painting. A simple interior scene which might have been boring if painted realistically in shades of brown and beige, is a landscape of vivacity. The space in the painting appears flat but highly decorative and buzzing with excitement. The energy of the painting, and we cannot deny that paintings have energies that directly speak to us, is that of a child’s laughter and play, bright pink ice cream melting in a summer’s day, jumping on trampoline, ribbons, bonbons and candy-floss, the world of fairy tales and make-believe. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I gaze at this painting, I feel rejuvenated. This just might be one of my favourites by Matisse.

Absinthe Faces: Louis Anquetin and Matisse

21 May

“Seek for the boldest colour possible, content is irrelevant.”

(Henri Matisse)

Louis Anquetin, Girl Reading a Newspaper, 1890, pastel on paper

These two paintings, Louis Anquetin’s pastel “Girl Reading a Newspaper” and Henri Matisse’s “Woman with a Hat” were painted by different artists and are fifteen years apart, but both show the same thing; a half-length portrait of a woman wearing a hat. A portrait of a woman, even a woman wearing a hat, is not an uncommon things in the art, but the thing that connects these two paintings and makes them so unique is the colour. And not just any colour, but one colour in particular: the vibrant, radiant, glowing turquoise shade which, even if present in smaller quantities on canvas, nonetheless seduces the viewer and blinds him with intensity.

Anquetin’s pastel shows a fashionably dressed woman seen from the profile reading the newspapers. Thin lips pressed together and a slightly long, pointed nose give a disdainful, uninterested appeal to her face; her newspapers are more interesting than whatever else is going on around her. Her auburn hair and eerily pale skin, almost glowingly white like moonlight are contrasting beautifully with the domineering shades of turquoise and teal. The colour seems so unbelievably radiant and glowing, like some strange tropical flower or a bug with an iridescent hard shell. When I first beheld this portrait, I thought: this seems like a world seen through an absinthe glass! Even her eyelids have a turquoise shade, her skin is slightly blueish, her newspapers are vibrantly turquoise and there’s even some turquoise on the ribbons of her hat. Interestingly, this pastel was known for many years by the title “The Absinthe Drinker” which has proved to be incorrect, but the colours would surely justify such a title. This painting was shown at the exhibition in 1906. Anquetin’s paintings usually feature scenes of night life, the wild, gaudy and gay underground of fin de siecle so the connection of this particular colour with absinth is very suitable.

Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905

Nothing I have seen can surpass the vibrant, absinthe-coloured radiance of this pastel by Anquetin, but this well-known painting by Henri Matisse called “Woman with a Hat”, exhibited infamously at the Salon d’Automne in 1905, has the similar shades of untamed pure colour which doesn’t match the reality. Matisse’s wife Amélie posed for the painting and in real life she was wearing a black dress, but in the mind of her painter husband, the simple black dress was transformed into a jungle of colours which uplift the soul and excite the eyes and among them are the turquoise and teal shades which we’ve seen in Anquetin’s portrait. Matisse is dear to me and that is mostly due to his attitude towards colour. I just love to see an artist being untamed when it comes to colours; no lines, no shading, no imitating the colour in nature, just wild colours on canvas, colour for the colour’s sake. There is something so liberating about that. I love how the face, the dress and the hat in Matisse’s portrait of his wife are all just patches of colours, an expressive and exciting mosaic of shapes. There is a turquoise line contouring the woman’s nose and one on her forehead, how exciting is that!?

Artworks I’ve Discovered This Morning

14 Jul

I won’t even try to express my excitement, joy and rapture because of the massive amount of artists and artworks I’ve stumbled upon this morning on Pinterest. But I did have a need to share all these beautiful paintings with you. I’m sure you’ll like some of them because the variety is incredible; different styles, colours, nations, time periods, and yet I like them all. I’m overwhelmed. One more painting and my mind would explode.

Night scenes, explosion of colours, spring meadows, roosters, Ohara Koson’s beautiful nature scenes, wild and surrealist street scenes, some Welsh artists, a peacock, Belgrade after the rain, romantic flowers and picturesque seaside towns, Spanish beauties, 18th century Asian lady awaiting her lover in the forest, Polynesian sky and sea, Montmartre stairs, purples and yellows; if your taste inclines towards some of these things, you’ll enjoy these eye-candies as much as I have.

P.S. Gustav Klimt was born on this day in 1862. He is always in my thoughts…

1938-45. Dancer and Reclining Man Emil Nolde1938-45. Dancer and Reclining Man Emil Nolde

Paris Montmartre - pastel by Yuriy ShevchukParis Montmartre – pastel by Yuriy Shevchuk

Polynesia, The Sea ~ Henri MatissePolynesia, The Sea ~ Henri Matisse

Polynesia, The Sky ~ Henri MatissePolynesia, The Sky ~ Henri Matisse

Rainy day in Belgrade by Dusan DjukaricRainy day in Belgrade by Dusan Djukaric

Dusan Djukaric. After the RainDusan Djukaric. After the Rain

Dusan Djukaric - Belgrade tramDusan Djukaric – Belgrade tram

1889. Childe Hassam - Mrs. Hassam and Her Sister1889. Childe Hassam – Mrs. Hassam and Her Sister

1890s Childe Hassam~ such beautiful light & movement...1890s Childe Hassam~ such beautiful light & movement…

Tetsuo Aoki 1Tetsuo Aoki

Dan McCaw. This reminds me of a rainy day, makes me want to curl up with a good bookDan McCaw

1907. Kees Van Dongen - Houses in Amsterdam1907. Kees Van Dongen – Houses in Amsterdam

1905. Joan Brull 'Dream'1905. Joan Brull ‘Dream’

Kinuko Y. Craft - GaladrielKinuko Y. Craft – Galadriel

Egon SchieleEgon Schiele

1893. By the Window - Konstantin Korovin (Russian, 1861-1939) Impressionism1893. By the Window – Konstantin Korovin (Russian, 1861-1939) Impressionism

1915. Sergiev Posad - Konstantin Gorbatov1915. Sergiev Posad – Konstantin Gorbatov

(c) Henrietta Garnett; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation1945-46. Vanessa Bell(1879-1961), lady with a book

1873. John Atkinson Grimshaw, Moonlit Lane1873. John Atkinson Grimshaw, Moonlit Lane

1893. Edvard Munch - Girl Looking out the Window1893. Edvard Munch – Girl Looking out the Window

1898. Henri Matisse (1869-1954)Woman Reading in a Violet Dress (1898)1898. Henri Matisse (1869-1954)Woman Reading in a Violet Dress

1860. Edgar Degas Le Fauteuil [The armchair], Pencil and watercolour on paper.1860. Edgar Degas Le Fauteuil [The armchair], Pencil and watercolour on paper

1775-80. Utka Nayika - A lady awaits her lover in the forest1775-80. Utka Nayika – A lady awaits her lover in the forest

1922. Hermen Anglada Camarasa (Spanish, 1872-1959) - Portrait of Jennifer Bosch, Duchess of Durcal1922. Hermen Anglada Camarasa (Spanish, 1872-1959) – Portrait of Jennifer Bosch, Duchess of Durcal

1914. Granada - Hermen Anglada Camarasa. Spanish (1871 - 1959)1914. Granada – Hermen Anglada Camarasa. Spanish (1871 – 1959)

Joan Miro 1 Joan Miro 2Joan Miro

1925. Joan Miró - This is the Colour of My Dreams1925. Joan Miró – This is the Colour of My Dreams

1902. The Happy Quartet - Henri Rousseau1902. The Happy Quartet – Henri Rousseau

1919.  Henri Matisse, Interior at Nice1919. Henri Matisse, Interior at Nice

1914. Subway riders, New York City, Francis Luis Mora. American Painter, born in Uruguay (1874 - 1940)1914. Subway riders, New York City, Francis Luis Mora. American Painter, born in Uruguay (1874 – 1940)

The Black Sea at night - Ivan AivazovskyThe Black Sea at night – Ivan Aivazovsky

Painting by Vladimir Dunjic Serbian ArtistPainting by Vladimir Dunjic Serbian Artist

OHARA Koson (1877-1945), JapanOhara Koson (1877-1945), Japan

Ohara Koson, Grasshoper and Fool Moon, c.1910Ohara Koson, Grasshoper and Fool Moon, c.1910

Ohara Koson - Moon and Blue flowers, JapanOhara Koson – Moon and Blue flowers, Japan

Paintings by French Naive Artist Cellia Saubry 1Paintings by French Naive Artist Cellia Saubry

Peacock, 17th century. Edo period (1615–1868). Japan. The Metropolitan Museum of Art,Peacock, 17th century. Edo period (1615–1868). Japan. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chris Neale, Pembrokeshire Artist

Chris Neale, Welsh artistChris Neale, Pembrokeshire Artist

Sir John 'Kyffin' Williams, May 1918 – 1 September 2006) was a Welsh landscape painter who lived at Pwllfanogl, Llanfairpwll on the Island of Anglesey.Sir John ‘Kyffin’ Williams, May 1918 – 1 September 2006) was a Welsh landscape painter who lived at Pwllfanogl, Llanfairpwll on the Island of Anglesey.

Autumn Treehouses ~ Becca StadtlanderAutumn Treehouses ~ Becca Stadtlander

Gary Bunt, The Sleeping GardenerGary Bunt, The Sleeping Gardener

Miguel Freitas  The naive impressions and memoriesMiguel Freitas

Valériane Leblond, Llanrhystyd, Wales 1 Valeraine Leblond. French and Quebecker artist who has lived in Wales since 2007. Valériane Leblond, Llanrhystyd, Wales 4Valériane Leblond, Llanrhystyd, Wales

Lucy Grossmith art 2 Lucy Grossmith art 1Lucy Grossmith

Kubo Shunman (Edo Period) ( Antique Japan Butterfly Illustration )Kubo Shunman (Edo Period) ( Antique Japan Butterfly Illustration )

Carlos Nadal (Spanish, 1917-1998)Carlos Nadal (Spanish, 1917-1998)

lovely tree on print

cat collage Higuchi YukoHiguchi Yuko

Gnome 1

1938. A rooster - Pablo Picasso1938. A rooster – Pablo Picasso

1938. Picasso - Rooster1938. Picasso – Rooster

My Inspiration for June II

30 Jun

Past two weeks have been very inspirational for me, I’ve discovered lots of new films, books, albums, painters…. I’m on cloud nine!

I’ve written a new reading list because I’ve read everything from the previous one, and I’ve already read four books: Three Sisters by Chekhov, The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac, Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis, Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America by Elizabeth Wurtzel. The last three books were really captivating. ‘Rules of Attraction’ was really interesting to read, it is not a romantic novel as the title suggests, but rather a critic of consumerism, materialism, shallowness and promiscuity. The characters are very self-obsessed, shallow, careless, promiscuous and bored with life. If that’s what student life looks like, I’d rather skip uni.

Films I’ve watched are The Double, Naked (1993), Godard’s Made in USA, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Rope (1948), Dragonwyck (1946) starring Vincent Price and Gene Tierney, Tonight or Never (1960), And God Created Woman (1956) with Brigitte Bardot, and finally Suddenly Last Summer (1959) with Elizabeth Taylor. I was really impressed with And God Created Woman. Naked is also a really good film; bleak, depressive and sadistic at parts, but striking nevertheless.

I’ve listened to four ‘new’ albums: Journal for Plague Lovers – Manic Street Preachers (2009), Muddy Waters – After the Rain (1969), Marianne Faithfull – Strange Weather (1987), Nico – Camera Obscura (1985). Don’t you just love it when characters in books make references to other cultural things. I adore that! In the book ‘The Rules of Attraction’ you can know precisely what the characters are listening to almost every moment, and the playlist includes cool stuff such as The Smiths, REM, Echo and the Bunnymen, Talking Heads…

Don’t you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn’t just an hour – but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands – and who knows what to do with it?‘ – Blanche DuBois, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

vivien leigh as blanche 11916. Modigliani 'Female Nude' 1950s brigitte bardot 1Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Merlin Morgana Dress 1 Yorkshire Dales made in USA 4 made in USA 3

anna karina style book 1

utagawa-toyokuni-i-1769-1825-woman-bathing-under-flowers-uki 1957. Brigitte Bardot by Jack Garofalo 1937. Woman In A Purple Coat or The Purple Coat by Henri Matisse,  It depicts Matisse's assistant Lydia Delectorskaya Mark Rothko 1 1943-44. Henri Matisse, The Horse, the Rider and the Clown 1957. And God Created Woman 4 1957. And God Created Woman 8 1957. And God Created Woman 11richey interview green on bed 1901. The Absinthe Drinker by Viktor Oliva richey 204

heather moors yorkshire 1 utagawa-toyokuni-i-1769-1825-komachi-at-sekidera-ca-1810-fro 1948. Rope prozac nation 1910. Girl with black hair - Egon Schiele 1959. Elizabeth Taylor in 'Suddenly Last Summer'Burne_Jones_Dornroeschen_Pr

Kees van Dongen – Femme Fatale in Wild Colours

7 Sep

On the 31st October 1903. an exhibition called Salon d’Autumne first opened and showed works of Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Felix Vallotton, Henri Manguin, and with an homage to Gauguin who died seven months earlier. The exhibition was held the next year too but in 1905. rather different works were shown; most of the paintings exhibited were painted in bold, vibrant colours and the simplification of form was evident; Fauvism was born.

1905. Kees van Dongen, Femme Fatale1905. Kees van Dongen – Femme Fatale

Kees van Dongen, a Dutch painter who lived and worked in Paris, was famous for his sensuous and garish portraits of Parisian beauties. Growing up in the outskirts of Rotterdam, van Dongen studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in his hometown and there he worked with J. Striening and J.G. Heyberg. From the age of fifteen he was likely to be seen at docs, painting sailors, ships that came from afar and also prostitutes. In 1897. he came to Paris and stayed there for seven months. In December 1899. he came to Paris again, this time for good.

His name became well known after he exhibited three of his works at the controversial Salon d’Autumne in 1905. His paintings, displayed right next to the ones of Matisse, were boldly coloured, sensual and provocative. The exhibition was very well received, and despite some of the critics who deemed the painters as fauves (wild beasts), this proved to be merely a beginning for this new rising art movement – Fauvism. In those times van Dongen, as part of the new wave of avant-garde artists, thought that art needed to be updated, considering it stuck in neo-impressionism. However, Fauvism originated from an extreme development of Van Gogh’s Post-Impressionism fused with Seurat’s Pointillism (other Neo-Impressionists’ pointillist tendencies, such as Signac’s, were influential). Soon Fauvism was transformed from a new avant-garde to a mainstream art movement until the Cubism became dominant, despite the comment of an art critic Camille Mauclair ‘A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public.

From all of van Dongen’s pots of colour, his Femme Fatale is the most appealing to me. Just look at those vivid reds, warm orange and yellow tones, hints of purple and magnificent greenish flesh; as if this femme fatale was an absinth fairy, enchanting and fatal to its consumers. The way she is holding her green toned breast with those long, jewellery decorated hands and gazing thoughtfully yet seductively at the viewer. Femme is dressed sumptuously in vivid red dress that is uncovering her so wanted treasure and despite all of those feathers in her raven coloured hair and all the heavy makeup and jewellery, she seems highly unimpressed. Centuries earlier gentleman were admiring sensual and plump Boticelli’s beauties, later they hopelessly gazed at Rembrandt’s, Fragonard’s and Winterhalten’s dames but this lady, this early twentieth century Femme Fatale is a modern women; sensuous, startlingly beautiful and – uninterested. This is the femme fatale from the same named song by Velvet Underground ‘Here she comes, you better watch your step/She’s going to break your heart in two, it’s true/It’s not hard to realize/Just look into her false colored eyes/She builds you up to just put you down, what a clown…‘ As everything in art ever was, at least for its time, this was provocative, this was the femme that real ladies were not expected to be, this femme was above social norms and classes, this femme belonged to van Dongen – his Femme Fatale in wild colours.