by Joan M. Rehlin
Born in France on New Year’s Eve, 147 years ago, Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse (12/31/1869 – 11/3/1954) is considered a leading figure in modern art. Initially a Fauvist who later became known as a classic French traditionalist painter, he also worked as a graphic artist and created original lithographs as well as B/W book illustrations. Matisse began painting at age 20, when his mother gave him art supplies to use as he recovered from a ruptured appendix. He is quoted as saying that creativity takes courage, and discovering “a kind of paradise” while painting, Matisse chose to leave the legal field and pursue art, to the great disappointment of his father.
“The Dessert: Harmony in Red,” which is in the permanent collection of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, is an example of Matisse's Fauvist style and emphasizes strong color rather than realistic representation of subject matter. Although this painting was initially ordered as “Harmony in Blue,” when Matisse decided he wasn't happy with his creation, he painted over the blue with his preferred color of red.
As we head toward 2017, we wish everyone the courage to be creative, as Matisse was, in whatever pursuits you choose.
The Dessert: Harmony in Red (The Red Room), 1908, oil on canvas, by Henri Matisse
Welcome to our Art Blog where we occasionally present topics of interest in the fine art world, including featuring artists other than Jim Rehlin. Some of the artwork has been created by long-departed but well-known greats; some, by compelling contemporary artists. All will be pieces we find worthwhile to share with you. If you like any of these, consider sharing the posts forward to your own blogs and other social media.