Portrait of Madame Matisse (1913) 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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Denigrators & enthusiasts alike both describe this painting by Henri Matisse as a shocking, disturbing yet beautiful oil painting of his wife; Amelie Noellie Matisse; done on canvas around autumn of 1905.

The painting is also known as Portrait of Madame Matisse. The Green stripe so named after the green band that cuts across the face in half, is instrumental in giving the painting its vibrant visual strength. This is an effort employed by Henri Matisse geared towards producing a sense of light, shadow & volume without using orthodox shading. Evidenced in the painting, Matisse demonstrates his comfort with bold colors in strong contrasts and seemingly wild brushwork in his art. The painting is a good example of expressionism art, as Henri Matisse used bold colors applied wildly to evoke emotion and thought in his paintings presenting the world solely from a subjective perspective.

Henri Matisse's work, together with similar works by other artists such as Andre Derain's Charing Cross (1906) and Maurice De Vlamink's Barges on the Seine (1905-06) among others contributed to influencing Critic Louis Vauxcelles disparaging the painters as 'Fauves (wild beasts) giving the movement of painters the name of the style came to be known as, fauvism'.

Gustave Moreau was the inspirational teacher and philosophical leader of the movement of expressionist painters during the 1890s until that recognition was placed on Henri Matisse in 1905. Even though considered as an expressionist painter, Henri Matisse visited artist John Rusell, an impressionist painter, and despite not liking the style later grew into it, being Russel's student in impressionism painting.

The Fauve characteristics seen in Henri Matisse's works are also witnessed in Andre Derain's Charing Cross Bridge (1906) featuring vibrant unblended colors, using the yellow color on his palette to portray the temperature of the evening. The painting was painted during a time Andre had visited London. The painting is currently on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, United States of America.

Maurice de Vlaminck also contributed to the Fauve art style demonstrated in his painting, The River Seine at Chatou (1906), a painting with although neo-impressionism reflected, invokes strong emotion in the boldness of color employed in wild brush strokes. The painting is currently on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, United States.

Henri Matisse, despite having studied under John Russel, an impressionist painter, was an acclaimed expressionist and said to be the philosophical leader of the Fauvism movement following the passing of inspirational leader, Gustave Moreau. The Portrait of Madame Matisse (1905) is currently in exhibition at the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, Denmark.