The Painter's Family Henri Matisse Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

The painting was created in 1911. Just like most of his paintings, this one was made using the oil on canvas method. The four people in the painting depict his family-his sons, daughter and wife. In the painting, his sons play a game of draughts while his daughter appears to watch them.

His wife is seated in the background knitting. This painting is currently being housed in The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia. This article will explore his inspiration for this painting and its symbolism. In the painting, her daughter Marguerite appears to stare directly at us. She is looking at his father paint them. It may explain why the painter doesn't include himself in the painting. Another meaning that we can draw from it, is that the daughter and father seem to be aware of something that other family members may not know.

This explains why other family members seem busy with their tasks while she only pays attention to her father. Marguerite is not Amelie's (his wife's) biological daughter. The painter sired her during his bohemian years. There may be secrets that Henri and Marguerite know that other family members do not.

To further prove Marguerite is the painter's illegitimate child, you will notice the contrast in her choice of attire. Throughout the painting, you will notice bright colours like red and brown up until the daughter shows up. Other family members are dressed in red or brown. She wears a black dress which contrasts with the overall bright theme of the rest of the background. The painter is thus able to convey that she is a new family member by simply painting her attire in different colours.

The painting also represents his family's status as a member of the bourgeois. His house has a fireplace, stylish rugs and flower vases. In some homes, fireplaces and flower vases are considered luxurious items. Henri is thus able to depict how a middle-income earner's house looks like.

In most homes, family members insist on doing most activities together. Children normally do not have a say in what parents decide for them, so they simply go along with what the parents want. The painting depicts freedom within his family. Each family member is allowed to be themselves. The sons choose to play a game while the wife chooses to knit. Sometimes, it is okay to allow people to express themselves independently. Not every painting has to include family members laughing while doing the dame activity.