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Matisse red fish

maintenance, care, compatibility

Who among those who have seen this picture in the Museum of Fine Arts. A.S. Pushkin in Moscow, did not catch himself thinking that he could not look away from the bright red puppy-eyed fish splashing in the aquarium.

What is the matter?

Matisse addressed this motif more than ten times, changing the composition, the shape of the aquarium, and the color in different ways. For example, in the picture, located in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, he pushed the vessel with fish to the left edge of the canvas, and in the center put a vase with red flowers, next to which a statuette of a lying woman can be seen against the window.

Thanks to the harmony of delicate air colors, this thing is imbued with such peace, as if in fact the picture is like a chair, which, according to the artist, after the fuss and work the viewer deserves.

In the Moscow canvas reigns another mood – upbeat, joyful, and it is created in color. Red fish are not only a compositional, but also a coloristic center of the picture, and the bright green leaves around them, by virtue of their contrast, make the red spots brighter still.

It is by the shining colors that we immediately recognize Matisse, and thanks to the color, the contemplation of his paintings becomes a feast for the eyes. It seems that the author of such colorful canvases life was easy and cloudless, but in fact it is not.

In order to be held as a professional and remain faithful to his creative principles, the artist had to overcome many difficulties.

drugsnboobs “I dream to achieve harmony, purity and transparency in my painting. I dream of paintings that will calm, and not excite the viewer; about the pictures, cozy, like a leather armchair, in which you can take a break from the burden of care. ”
Self Portrait in a Striped T-shirt (1906)

Henri Emile Benoit Matisse was born on the last day of 1869 in the town of Le Ca-de-Cambresis in northeastern France into the family of a grain and paint merchant. Matisse’s childhood was happy.

After leaving school, Henri studied law in Paris. After receiving a diploma, he worked as an assistant lawyer in Saint-Quentin.

The work seemed to Matisse infinitely boring. The turning point in his life was a disease. In order to somehow “dispel” his son when he recovered after an operation done on appendicitis, his mother presented him with a box of paints. “When I started writing,” Matisse recalled later, “I felt like in paradise. “

Having obtained the permission of his father, he went to study at the artist in the capital, where in October 1891 he entered the Academy Julian. Relations with Adolf Bouguereau, in whose workshop he got, Matisse did not work out, and soon he moved to the School of Fine Arts at Postau Moreau. It was fate.

First, Moreau turned out to be an excellent teacher; secondly, here, in his studio, the aspiring artist made friends with Albert-Marcé and Georges Rouault, his future Fauvism associates.

Dining table (1897)

Blue Pot and Lemon (1897)

Fruit and coffee pot (1899)

On the advice of Moreau, he diligently copied the work of old masters in the Louvre. The ideas of the master, who believed that the main thing in the painter – his ability to express his attitude to the world in colors, found a vivid response in the soul of the young Matisse.

As for his then manner of writing, it was close to impressionistic. But the color, initially muffled, gradually gained strength and even then began to acquire an independent meaning in the works of the artist, who saw in him “the power that can emphasize a feeling.”

Dishes on the table (1900)

Dishes and Fruit (1901)

The Outlines of Notre Dame at Night (1902)

Workshop in the attic (1903)

He lived Matisse at this time difficult. He had an illegitimate daughter who required care.

In 1898, the artist married Amelie Pereire. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon in London, where Matisse became interested in the work of the great master of color Turner.

Upon returning to France, the couple left for Corsica (the amazing colors of the Mediterranean then broke into the painter’s canvases). At this time, Matisse met Paul Signiac and became interested in divisionism, the meaning of which was in the letter with individual dots of pure primary color.

Square in Saint-Tropez (1904)

Luxury, peace and pleasure (1904)

Summer of 1905, Matisse spent on the southern coast of France. There began his departure from the technique of divisionism.

The artist with his head went into experiments with color, trying to create on the canvas unthinkable hitherto color contrasts. In the Autumn Salon of 1905, he performed together with Vlaminck, Derain and Marche. Critics found their paintings “heretical.”

Samich authors L. Voksel called “wild” – it was from this French word that the name of the new artistic direction (“Fauvism”) was born, not without pride taken by young revolutionaries from painting.

Fans of this group were found immediately. Leo Stein and his sister, Gertrude (famous writer), purchased the sensational painting by Matisse “Woman in the Hat”, and Paul Signac bought his work “Luxury, peace and pleasure.” Steins became friends with the artist.

This friendship in his fate meant a lot. New friends introduced Matisse to Picasso, a young man, a number of influential critics and Russian collector S. Shchukin.

All this significantly improved the financial situation of the painter. He moved to a new home in Issy-de-Mulino and undertook several large journeys, visiting North Africa, Spain, Germany and Russia.

Woman in a Hat (1905)

Madame Matisse (1905)

In 1909, Shchukin ordered two panels for Matisse for his Moscow mansion – “Dance” and “Music”. Working on them, the artist managed to achieve absolute harmony of form and color. “We strive for clarity, simplifying ideas and meanings,” he later explained. – “Dance” was written by me with just three colors.

The blue color represents the sky, the pink color represents the bodies of the dancers, and the green color represents the hill. ”

In the war years, Matisse (who did not get into the army by age) was actively developing new artistic areas – engraving and sculpture. He lived for a long time in Nice, where he could write calmly.

He met his wife less and less. It was a kind of recluse, a fascinated service to art, to which he now devoted himself entirely.

The recognition of the artist, meanwhile, has long overstepped the borders of France.

Moroccan landscape (1911-1913)

Red fishes (1911)

Portrait of the artist’s wife (1912-1913)

Yvonne Landsberg (1914)

Three sisters. Triptych (1917)

Laurett with a cup of coffee (1917)

Moorish screen (1917-1921)

Nude back (1918)

Interior with violin case (1918-1919)

The black table (1919)

Woman in front of the aquarium (1921)

Open window (1921)

Raised Knee (1922)

His paintings have been exhibited in London, New York and Copenhagen. Since 1927, his son, Pierre, was actively involved in organizing exhibitions of his father.

Meanwhile, Matisse continued to try himself in new genres. He illustrated the books of Mallarme, Joyce, Ronsard, Baudelaire, created costumes and scenery for productions of Russian ballet.

The artist did not forget about traveling, having traveled the United States and spent three months in Tahiti.

In 1930, he received an order from Albert Barnes for a wall painting, which was supposed to decorate the building of the Barnsov painting collection in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia. Matisse again chose the theme of painting (as he did 20 years ago when he worked for Shchukin).

He cut out huge figures of dancers from colored paper and pinned them to a huge canvas, trying to find the most expressive and dynamic composition.

Since the beginning of World War II, Matisse almost went to Brazil (the visa was already ready), but in the end changed his mind.

Pink Nude (1935)

In 1940, he officially filed a divorce from Amelie, and a little later he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. The artist had two very complicated operations.

For a long time, Matisse was bedridden.

Portrait of Delektorskaya (1947)

One of the carers who looked after the sick Matisse was Monica Bourgeois. When years later they met again, Matisse learned that his friend had had tuberculosis, after which he took the veil under the name of Jacques-Marie in the Dominican monastery in Vance. Jacques-Marie asked the artist to correct her sketches of stained glass windows for the monastery Chapel of the Rosary.

Matisse, by his own admission, saw in this request “a truly heavenly design and a certain divine sign.” The design of the Chapel, he took up himself.

The interior of the Chapel of the Rosary in Vance (1950)


Matisse’s interest in the East dictated the creation of a series of paintings depicting Odalis (inhabitants of harems).

Odalisque in red trousers (1917)

Odalisk with a green scarf (1923)

Odalisca, harmony in red (1926)

Odaliski on the sofa (1928)

Odaliski in a transparent skirt. Black and white lithography (1929)


In 1947, Matisse received an offer to assemble an album of “improvisations in color and rhythm” called “Jazz”, which would be the visual analogue of the compositions of famous jazz musicians Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. While working on it, the artist cut out figures from sheets of gouache-colored paper, “sculpt sculptures with vibrant color” and “reviving” his childhood memories of sledding, circus clowns, gymnasts and cowboys.

A pair of scissors became a tool that allowed him to solve actual problems of color, shape and space. “Paper silhouettes,” we quote Matisse, “give me the opportunity to write in pure color, and this simplicity guarantees accuracy. This is not a return to basics, this is the ultimate search point. ”

Horse, Rider and Clown (1947)


For the first time, Matisse arrived in Nice in 1917 and immediately fell in love with this city. The artist was absolutely fascinated by the local light – “soft and thin, despite its brilliance”.

Matisse once confessed to one of his friends: “When I realized that I could wake up every morning in the midst of this world, I was ready to die of happiness. Only in Nice, far from Paris, I forget everything, I live quietly and breathe freely. ”

Staying in Nice due to a whole period in the works of Matisse – one of the most fruitful. Here he wrote more than fifty of his odalisok, as well as a number of home scenes and a series of views from the window – such as “The Woman at the Window.”

Interior, Nice (1919)

The woman at the window (1924)

Paper women

In the last years of his life, Matisse did not stop experimenting (he, however, never tired of doing this). His next passion was “painting” by means of figures cut from paper.

For the first time, Matisse visited North Africa in 1906 – by his own admission, in order to “see the desert with his own eyes.” In 1912 he traveled there twice. A few years before the first trip to Morocco, the artist was deeply impressed by African sculptures exhibited in Paris.

In 1910 he visited the exhibition of Islamic art in Munich, and later traveled around Spain in search of a “Moorish trace” in the culture of this country.

During his long stay in Morocco (he lived in Tangier), Matisse was fascinated by the nature and colors of North Africa. Here he painted the famous paintings “View from the Window” and “Entrance to the Kazba”.

The view from the window (1912)

The entrance to the Kazba (1912)

Bring the immediate experience of life

“The significance of the artist is measured by the number of new signs that he will introduce into the plastic language,” wrote Matisse. When an artist, who knows to himself that he is not an empty quantity in art, utters such maxims, he speaks first of all about his work.

Question: what new signs in the plastic language Matisse himself introduced? And many.

For the outward simplicity of his paintings, sometimes you will not see this – it seems that “everyone could have done so.”

Seascape (1905)

Interior with a girl (1905-1906)

Portrait of Andre Derain (1905)

The happiness of existence (the joy of life) (1905-1906)

The Sea in Collioure (1906)

Reclining Nude (1906)

Oriental carpets (1906)

Sailor II (1906-1907)

Blue Nude (1907)

Madame Matisse in a red striped dress (1907)

Still life in blue tones (1907)

Bowling (1908)

Blue tablecloth (1909)

Nude in a sunny landscape (1909)

Still Life with ‘Dance’ (1909)

Satir and Nymph (1909)

Girl with a black cat (1910)

Red fishes (1911)

Flowers and a ceramic plate (1911)

Spanish Still Life (Seville II) (1911)

Family Portrait (1911)

Manila Shawl (1911)

The interior in eggplant (1911-1912)

Red fishes in the interior (1912)

Dance with Nasturtiums (1912)

Blue Window (1912)

Sitting Riffian (1912-1913)

Arabic coffee house (1912-1913)

Still Life with Oranges (1913)

View of Notre Dame (1914)

Interior with a basin and a red fish (1914)

Yellow curtain (1914-1915)

Studio on the Saint-Michel Embankment (1916)

Laurett in green on a black background (1916)

Laurett in a white turban (1916)

Still Life with a Head (1916)

Music lesson (1917)

Lorraine chair (1919)

Painting lesson (1919)

Nude, Spanish carpet (1919)

Seated Woman (1919)

Woman on the couch (1920-1922)

Nude on a blue pillow (1924)

Interior with photo (1924)

Decorative figure on the background of the ornament (1925-1926)

Nude in a chair (1926)

Ballerina, harmony in the green (1927)

Lady in Blue (1937)

Interior with Etruscan vaza (1940)

Leda and the Swan (1944-1946)

The interior is in red. Still life on a blue table (1947)

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