Composition Green Background Henri Matisse Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Composition Green Background (Composition fond vert) was completed in 1947 as part of Matisse's Jazz Book illustrations. He would use gouache, cut papers and some lines of pencil on paper to put each of these different artworks together.

Each piece would need to be of similar size in order to fit together within the final publication. This drawing is 104.1cm in height by 39.2 cm in width. We find two main areas of the composition which are sectioned off by different background tones of green. The darker, brighter region covers just a small part of the bottom and has several white cut outs placed on top. These spiral in direction and are joined by a small yellow flash in the bottom right corner. The larger section hosts another of these white spirals plus many leaves which are delivered in black and blue. They are sized and arranged without too much precision as Matisse attempts to create an organic, almost random arrangement throughout his Jazz book designs. You will therefore see a similar approach in his other cut-outs. This technique would be the final body of work that he produced.

Matisse would sometimes lie in his bed whilst working, such were the problems that he experienced in later life as his health continued to deteriorate. Only someone entirely committed to their passion in life would have continued to work and find new avenues of expression when faced with such difficulties. Many would have given up once oil painting was no-longer an option, but this innovative Frenchman simply searched for new ideas on how he could continue to produce contemporary artworks. Painted paper with scissors was all he needed when combined with his own imagination, and soon weird and wonderful shapes would start to appear from his room, which he then carefully arranged into the types of works that we find here in Composition Green Background (Composition fond vert).

This piece is believed to be in The Menil Collection which specialises in art from the 20th century. Matisse's work now holds great value and interest is always considerable when any of his artworks come up for sale at auction. He ranks alongside the greatest French artists of all time in terms of legacy and influence, as we look across the full breadth of work to have come from this nation over the past few centuries. His use of colour has also inspired many, as has his desire to keep working even when his health was continuing to worsen. He truly loved to work as an artist and never wanted to stop creating new ideas, doing as much as he could for as long as he could. Those interested in visiting The Menil Collection will also be able to enjoy some Joan Miro paintings here as well, as part of an impressive selection of modern art.