Dessert: Harmony in Red
"In 1908 Henri Matisse created one of his most important works of the period. The artist himself called this oil on canvas a “decorative panel” and it was intended for the dining room in the Moscow mansion of the famous Russian collector Sergey Shchukin. The Dessert: Harmony in Red was originally commissioned as ‘Harmony in Blue’, but Matisse was disappointed with the result so painted over it with his preferred red.
The luxuriant raspberry red fabric with its energetic twists of blue seems to hang from the wall, engulfing the surface of the table and swallowing up the three-dimensional space of the room. Despite the flatness of the red colour, the artist managed to create within it the impression of space; an area within which the maid leaning over the vase could move and within which the harsh view of the chair seemed oddly natural. The window, through which a green garden with flowering plants is visible, allows the eye to move into the depths of the canvas.
The rhythms of the foliage pattern on the tablecloth and wallpaper are repeated in the window in the background, uniting the warm interior with the cool exterior. The Dessert: Harmony in Red is a celebrated triumph of pattern and decoration and is considered by critics to be one of the most powerful examples of fauvist art." - Matisse Paintings
Woman with Hat
"Femme au chapeau (Woman with hat) marked a stylistic change from the regulated brushstrokes of Matisse's earlier work to a more expressive individual style. His use of non-naturalistic colors and loose brushwork, which contributed to a sketchy or "unfinished" quality, seemed shocking to the viewers of the day.
The artist's wife, Amélie, posed for this half-length portrait. She is depicted in an elaborate outfit with classic attributes of the French bourgeoisie: a gloved arm holding a fan and an elaborate hat perched atop her head. Her costume's vibrant hues are purely expressive, however; when asked about the hue of the dress Madame Matisse was actually wearing when she posed for the portrait, the artist allegedly replied, "Black, of course." - henrimatisse.org
Artist: Henri Matisse | Designer: Sabai Beauty