Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Matisse, Henri

La Tristesse du roi (Sorrows of the King)
Gouache-painted paper cut-outs, mounted on canvas
292 x 386 cm
Völklinger Hütte Museum, Germany

La Tristesse du roi is a reference to one of Rembrandt's canvases, David Playing the Harp before Saul, in which the young Biblical hero plays to distract the King from his melancholy. In this work, Matisse layers the themes of old age, of looking back towards earlier life and of music soothing all ills.

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse (1869 - 1954) was a French artist, known for his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he was initially labelled a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of color and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.