04 June 2024

Spartan appeal

Henri Matisse, oil portrait, 1930's? (1869 - 1954)

It's June! Time to fall in love with someone! And how I love this woman! I cannot seem to locate its provenance nor when it was painted but something tells me it was late, perhaps 1930's or 1940's...? 

Henri Matisse was such an innovator, an artist who truly experimented with so many different graphic approaches to representation. I admire him for this even though I might not be crazy about some of his solutions. But I love the many pathways during his artistic lifetime. 

What pulls me into this portrait is the expressive simplicity. The drawing appears to naturally come out of his many austere line drawings made during several decades before his death. I love the Spartan appeal to emotional clarity found in these late portraits. 

The background is a scratchy flat black and reminiscent of a grade school blackboard altered by striking white crosses. The flat portrait seems to stand out by colour alone, the golden head and hair is housed within a wonderful pale broken pink dress. And pink and black are my favourite combinations when paired together one next to the other.

I guess one gets it or they don't. I cannot say anything more about it except that it's the kind of portrait that makes me want to get back to making portraits!  

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