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Monday, September 10, 2012

Matisse, Henri


Mademoiselle Yvonne Landsberg
1914
oil on canvas
147.3/97.5 cm (58/38.4 in.)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, USA

Mlle Yvonne Landsberg was painted in 1914 before the outbreak of World War I. The monochromatic color scheme and the mask like face were most likely influenced by Picasso and his severe paintings of women as in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), but the curious lines emanating from Mlle Landsberg's body appear to be Matisse's invention. The curved lines seem to be lines of force or energy surrounding the sitter, extending her into the surrounding space, of filling the void. This may be an attempt by Matisse's at expressing an existentialist theme, a lapse from his joie de vivre oeuvre.

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse (1869 - 1954) was a French artist, known for his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. The art of 2oth century has been dominated by two men: Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. They are artists of classical greatness, and their visionary forays into new art have changed our understanding of the world. Matisse was the elder of the two, but he was a slower and more methodical man by temperament. Matisse and Picasso 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.

Matisse began studying drawing and painting in the 1890s. A student of the masters of Post-Impressionism, Matisse later made a reputation for himself as the leader of a group of painters known as Les Fauves (wild beasts). An ironic label given to them by a critic, the name reflected Matisse's aggressive strokes and bold use of primary colors.
Although he was labelled a Fauve, 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.

Matisse loved pattern, and pattern within pattern: not only the suave and decorative forms of his own compositions but also the reproduction of tapestries, embroideries, silks, striped awnings, curlicues, mottles, dots, and spots, the bright clutter of over-furnished rooms, within the painting. In particular he loved Islamic art. Islamic pattern offers the illusion of a completely full world, where everything from far to near is pressed with equal urgency against the eye. Matisse admired that, and wanted to transpose it into terms of pure color. Beyond painting, he worked with lithographs and sculpture, and during World War II he did a series of book designs. Later in his career he experimented with paper cutouts and designed decorations for the Dominican chapel in Vence, France.
Picasso destroyed his fear of women in his art, while Matisse coaxed his nervous tension into serenity. "Instinct must be thwarted just as one prunes the branches of a tree so that it will grow better."(Henri Matisse)
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard