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Henri Matisse

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Biography 1 (English)
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Biografía
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Henri Émile Benoît Matisse  nació el 31 de diciembre de 1869  y murió el 3 de noviembre de 1954. Pintor francés nacido en Le Cateau-Cambrésis, una pequeña localidad al norte de Francia, en el seno de una familia de comerciantes, mundialmente conocido como el creador del Fauvismo.

Estudió derecho antes de trasladarse a París y dedicarse de lleno a su verdadera vocación: la pintura. Asistió a cursos en la Academia Julián y en 1892 ingresó en la Escuela de Bellas Artes, recibiendo clases en el taller del pintor simbolista Gustave Moreau, donde coincidió con Rouault, Camoin y Marquet, además de relacionarse también con los artistas Dufy y Friesz, discípulos de Pierre Bonnard.

Al comienzo de su trayectoria artística practicó el dibujo del natural en un estilo más bien tradicional, como se aprecia en El tejedor bretón, y realizó copias en el Louvre. Más adelante pasó a pintar luminosos paisajes de Córcega y de la Costa Azul, dejándose llevar por los aires impresionistas de la época, y practicó esporádicamente el divisionismo.

En algunas de sus figuras pintadas hacia fin de siglo está presente la influencia de Cézanne, pero a partir de 1907 su estilo se hizo más definido y pintó a la manera fauve: supresión de detalles y tendencia a la simplificación, con lo que obtuvo cuadros impregnados de paz y armonía, como Lujo, calma y voluptuosidad o El marinero de la gorra. Mediante zonas de color diferenciadas, tradujo la forma de los objetos y el espacio existente entre ellos, además de introducir arabescos y crear un ritmo característico en sus cuadros, como en Las alfombras rojas. Su uso del color fue de una gran sensualidad, aunque siempre muy controlada por una metódica organización estructural. Como él mismo declaró: «Sueño con un arte de equilibrio, de tranquilidad, sin tema que inquiete o preocupe, algo así como un lenitivo, un calmante cerebral parecido a un buen sillón». Otro de sus rasgos peculiares es la sensación de bidimensionalidad de cuadros como La habitación roja (o Armonía en rojo) o Naturaleza muerta con berenjenas, en los que la ilusión de profundidad queda anulada mediante el uso de la misma intensidad cromática en elementos que aparecen en primer o en último plano.

En 1912 y 1913 viajó a Marruecos, donde la luz le inspiró cuadros sobre paisajes mediterráneos de gran colorido, como Los marroquíes.

Hacia 1916 se inició un período en el que se percibe la influencia del movimiento cubista, de creciente importancia, que se traduce en un concepto más geométrico de las formas y una simplificación aún mayor, como en El pintor y su modelo.

Hacia 1917 se instaló en Niza, conoció a Renoir, y su estilo se hizo más sutil. Produjo en este período algunas de sus obras más célebres, como Ventana en Niza y la serie de las Odaliscas, donde queda claramente plasmado el gusto de Matisse por la ornamentación y el uso de arabescos. En los años siguientes viajó por Europa y Tahití, donde concibió la obra en gran formato La danza.

Hacia la década de 1940, el colorido de sus telas se tornó más atrevido, como en La blusa rumana y en el Gran interior rojo, antecedentes de los gouaches que realizó a finales de los años cuarenta, en los que cortaba y pegaba papeles coloreados. Es famosa en esta técnica su serie Jazz, de 1943-1946.

En 1950 decoró la capilla del Rosario de los dominicos de Vence, en la obra que mejor expone su tendencia simplificadora hacia formas más planas. Realizó así mismo un gran número de dibujos a pluma e ilustraciones para escritores como Mallarmé y Joyce. En cuanto a sus grabados, el número de piezas alcanza las quinientas, entre litografías, aguafuertes y xilografías. También esculpió en bronce y colaboró escribiendo artículos para distintas revistas especializadas.

En 1963 se abrió en Niza el Museo Matisse, que reúne una parte de su obra.


Biography 1 - Text from "The Shock of the New", by Robert Hughes

"Henri Matisse was born in 1869, the year the Cutty Sark was launched. The year he died, 1954, the first hydrogen bomb exploded at Bikini Atoll. Not only did he live on, literally, from one world into another; he lived through some of the most traumatic political events in recorded history, the worst wars, the greatest slaughters, the most demented rivalries of ideology, without, it seems, turning a hair. Matisse never made a didactic painting or signed a manifesto, and there is scarcely one reference to a political event - let alone an expression of political opinion - to be found anywhere in his writings. Perhaps Matisse did suffer from fear and loathing like the rest of us, but there is no trace of them in his work. His studio was a world within the world: a place of equilibrium that, for sixty continuous years, produced images of comfort, refuge, and balanced satisfaction. Nowhere in Matisse's work does one feel a trace of the alienation and conflict which modernism, the mirror of our century, has so often reflected. His paintings are the equivalent to that ideal place, scaled away from the assaults and erosions of history, that Baudelaire imagined in his poem L'Invitation al Voyage:

Furniture gleaming with the sheen of years would grace our bedroom; the rarest flowers, mingling their odours with vague whiffs of amber, the painted ceilings, the fathomless mirrors, the splendour of the East ... all of that would speak, in secret, to our souls, in its gentle language. There, everything is order and beauty, luxury, calm and pleasure.

"In its thoughtfulness, steady development, benign lucidity, and wide range of historical sources, Matisse's work utterly refutes the notion that the great discoveries of modernism were made by violently rejecting the past. His work was grounded in tradition - and in a much less restless and ironic approach to it than Picasso's. As a young man, having been a student of Odilon Redon's, he had closely studied the work of Manet and Cézanne; a small Cézanne Bathers, which he bought in 1899, became his talisman. Then around 1904 he got interested in the coloured dots of Seurat's Divisionism. Seurat was long dead by then, but Matisse became friends with his closest follower, Paul Signac. Signac's paintings of Saint-Tropez bay were an important influence on Matisse's work. So, perhaps, was the painting that Signac regarded as his masterpiece and exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1895, In the Time of Harmony, a big allegorical composition setting forth his anarchist beliefs. The painting shows a Utopian Arcadia of relaxation and farming by the sea, and it may have fused with the traditional fête champétre in Matisse's mind to produce his own awkward but important demonstration piece, Luxe, Calme et Volupte, 1904-5. In it, Matisse's literary interest in Baudelaire merged with his Arcadian fantasies, perhaps under the promptings of Signac's table-talk about the future Golden Age. One sees a picnic by the sea at Saint-Tropez, with a lateen-rigged boat and a cluster of bulbous, spotty nudes. It is not, to put it mildly, a very stirring piece of luxe, but it was Matisse's first attempt to make an image of the Mediterranean as a state of mind.

"In 1905 Matisse went south again, to work with André Derain in the little coastal town of Collioure. At this point, his colour broke free. Just how free it became can be seen in The Open Window, Collioure, 1905. It is the first of the views through a window that would recur as a favourite Matissean motif. All the colour has undergone an equal distortion and keying up. The terracotta of flowerpots and the rusty red of masts and furled sails become a blazing Indian red: the reflections of the boats, turning at anchor through the razzle of light on the water, are pink; the green of the left wall, reflected in the open glazed door on the right, is heightened beyond expectation and picked up in the sky's tints. And the brushwork has a eupeptic, take-it-or-leave-it quality that must have seemed to deny craft even more than the comparatively settled way that Derain, his companion, was painting.

"The new Matisses, seen in the autumn of 1905, were very shocking indeed. Even their handful of defenders were uncertain about them, while their detractors thought them barbaric. Particularly offensive was his use of this discordant colour in the familiar form of the salon portrait - even though the "victim" was his wife, posing in her best Edwardian hat.

Fallo completo de la Corte Suprema Argentina sobre la llamada "pesificación" - Hiroshima y Nagasaki - La Mujer y su Mundo - La Deuda Externa Argentina - Causa Alejandro Olmos. Deuda externa argentina ilícita

"There was some truth, if a very limited truth, to the cries of barbarism. Time and again, Matisse set down an image of a pre-civilized world, Eden before the Fall, inhabited by men and women with no history, languid as plants or energetic as animals. Then, as now, this image held great appeal for the over-civilized, and one such man was Matisse's biggest patron, the Moscow industrialist Sergey Shchukin, who at regular intervals would descend on Paris and clean his studio out. The relationship between Shchukin and Matisse, like the visits of Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe to France, was one of the components of a Paris-Moscow axis that would be destroyed forever by the Revolution. Shchukin commissioned Matisse to paint two murals for the grand staircase of his house in Moscow, the Trubetskoy Palace. Their themes were "Dance" and "Music".

"Even when seen in a neutral museum setting, seventy years later, the primitive look of these huge paintings is still unsettling. On the staircase of the Trubetskoy Palace, they must have looked excessively foreign. Besides, to imagine their impact, one must remember the social structure that went with the word "Music" in late tsarist Russia. Music pervaded the culture at every level, but in Moscow and St. Petersburg it was the social art par excellence. Against this atmosphere of social ritual, glittering and adulatory, Matisse set his image of music at its origins - enacted not by virtuosi with managers and diamond studs but by five naked cavemen, pre-historical, almost presocial. A reed flute, a crude fiddle, the slap of hand on skin: it is a long way from the world of first nights, sables, and droshkies. Yet Matisse's editing is extraordinarily powerful; in allotting each of the elements, earth, sky, and body, its own local colour and nothing more, he gives the scene a riveting presence. Within that simplicity, boundless energy is discovered. The Dance is one of the few wholly convincing images of physical ecstasy made in the twentieth century. Matisse is said to have got the idea for it in Collioure in 1905, watching some fishermen and peasants on the beach in a circular dance called a sardana. But the sardana is a stately measure, and The Dance is more intense. That circle of stamping, twisting maenads takes you back down the line, to the red-figure vases of Mediterranean antiquity and, beyond them, to the caves. It tries to represent motions as ancient as dance itself.

"The other side of this coin was an intense interest in civilized craft. Matisse loved pattern, and pattern within pattern: not only the suave and decorative forms of his own compositions but also the reproduction of tapestries, embroideries, silks, striped awnings, curlicues, mottles, dots, and spots, the bright clutter of over-furnished rooms, within the painting. In particular he loved Islamic art, and saw a big show of it in Munich on his way back from Moscow in 1911. Islamic pattern offers the illusion of a completely full world, where everything from far to near is pressed with equal urgency against the eye. Matisse admired that, and wanted to transpose it into terms of pure colour. One of the results was The Red Studio, 1911.

"On one hand, he wants to bring you into this painting: to make you fall into it, like walking through the looking-glass. Thus the box of crayons is put, like a bait, Just under your hand, as it was under his. But it is not a real space, and because it is all soaked in flat, subtly modulated red, a red beyond ordinary experience, dyeing the whole room, it describes itself aggressively as fiction. It is all inlaid pattern, full of possible "windows," but these openings are more flat surfaces. They are Matisse's own pictures. Everything else is a work of art or craft as well: the furniture, the dresser, the clock and the sculptures, which are also recognizably Matisses. The only hint of nature in all this is the trained houseplant, which obediently emulates the curve of the wicker chair on the right and the nude's body on the left. The Red Studio is a poem about how painting refers to itself: how art nourishes itself from other art and how, with enough conviction, art can form its own republic of pleasure, a parenthesis within the real world - a paradise.

"This belief in the utter self-sufficiency of painting is why Matisse could ignore the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When the war broke out in 1914, he was forty-five - too old to fight, too wise to imagine that his art could interpose itself between history and its victims, and too certain of his alms as an artist to change them. Through the war years, stimulated by a trip to North Africa, his art grew in amplitude and became more abstract, as in The Moroccans, 1916. In 1917 he moved, more or less permanently, to the South of France. "In order to paint my pictures," he remarked, "I need to remain for several days in the same state of mind, and I do not find this in any atmosphere but that of the Côte d'Azur." He found a vast apartment in a white Edwardian wedding cake above Nice, the Hótel Regina. This was the Great Indoors, whose elements appear in painting after painting: the wrought-iron balcony, the strip of blue Mediterranean sky, the palm, the shutters. Matisse once said that he wanted his art to have the effect of a good armchair on a tired businessman. In the 1960s, when we all believed art could still change the world, this seemed a limited aim, but in fact one can only admire Matisse's common sense. He, at least, was under no illusions about his audience. He knew that an educated bourgeoisie was the only audience advanced art could claim, and history has shown him right..."

Biography 2 - Magdalena Dabrowski - Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The remarkable career of Henri Matisse, one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, whose stylistic innovations (along with those of Pablo Picasso) fundamentally altered the course of modern art and affected the art of several generations of younger painters, spanned almost six and a half decades. His vast oeuvre encompassed painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic arts (as diverse as etchings, linocuts, lithographs, and aquatints), paper cutouts, and book illustration. His varied subjects comprised landscape, still life, portraiture, domestic and studio interiors, and particularly focused on the female figure.

Initially trained as a lawyer, Matisse developed an interest in art only at age twenty-one. In 1891, he moved to Paris to study art and followed the traditional nineteenth-century academic path, first at the Académie Julian (winter 1891–92, under the conservative William-Adolphe Bouguereau), and then at the École des Beaux-Arts (1892, under the Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau). Matisse's early work, which he began exhibiting in 1895, was informed by the dry academic manner, particularly evident in his drawing. Discovering manifold artistic movements that coexisted or succeeded one another on the dynamic Parisian artistic scene, such as Neo-Classicism, Realism, Impressionism, and Neo-Impressionism, he began to experiment with a diversity of styles, employing new kinds of brushwork, light, and composition to create his own pictorial language.

In its palette and technique, Matisse's early work showed the influence of an older generation of his compatriots: Édouard Manet (1832–1883) and Paul Cézanne (1839–1906). In the summer of 1904, while visiting his artist friend Paul Signac at Saint-Tropez, a small fishing village in Provence, Matisse discovered the bright light of southern France, which contributed to a change to a much brighter palette. He also was exposed, through Signac and Henri-Edmond Cross, living in nearby Lavandou, to a Pointillist technique of small color dots (points) in complementary colors, perfected in the 1880s by Georges Seurat (1859–1891). As a result, Matisse produced his Neo-Impressionist masterpiece Luxe, calme et volupté (1904–5; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris), so titled after a poem by Charles Baudelaire, and exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris (spring 1905) to great acclaim. The next summer, in Collioure, a seaport also on the Mediterranean coast, where he vacationed in the company of André Derain (1880–1954), Matisse created brilliantly colored canvases structured by color applied in a variety of brushwork, ranging from thick impasto to flat areas of pure pigment, sometimes accompanied by a sinuous, arabesque-like line. Paintings such as Woman with a Hat (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), when exhibited at the 1905 Salon d'Automne in Paris, gave rise to the the first of the avant-garde movements (fall 1905–7), named "Fauvism" (from the French word fauves or "wild beasts") by a contemporary art critic, referring to its use of arbitrary combinations of bright colors and energetic brushwork to structure the composition. During his brief Fauvist period, Matisse produced a significant number of remarkable canvases, such as the portrait of Madame Matisse, called The Green Line (1905; Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen); Bonheur de vivre (1905–6; Barnes Collection, Merion, Pa.); Marguerite Reading (1905–6; MoMA, New York); two versions of The Young Sailor (1906), the second of which is at the Metropolitan Museum; Blue Nude: Memory of Biskra (1907; Baltimore Museum of Art); and two versions of Le Luxe (1907), among others.

Subsequently, Matisse's career can be divided into several periods that changed stylistically, but his underlying aim always remained the same: to discover "the essential character of things" and to produce an art "of balance, purity, and serenity," as he himself put it in his "Notes of a Painter" in 1908. The years 1908–13 were focused on art and decoration, producing several large canvases such as Reclining Odalisque (1908); two important mural-size commissions, Dance and Music (1909–10), for the Moscow house of his Russian patron Sergei I. Shchukin; a trio of large studio interiors, exemplified by The Red Studio (1911; MoMA, New York); and a group of spectacularly colored Moroccan pictures. These were followed by four years (1913–17) of experimentation and discourse with the Cubism of Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris. The resulting compositions were much more austere, almost geometrically structured and at times close to abstraction, as shown in the View of Notre-Dame (1914; MoMA, New York), the Yellow Curtain (1915; private collection), The Piano Lesson (1916; MoMA, New York), Bathers by a River (1916; Art Institute, Chicago), and a group of portraits in which a seated figure or the sitter's head is positioned against a thinly brushed, neutral background. Yet he also created meticulously drawn portraits such as the famous Plumed Hat (1919; MoMA, New York).

In the autumn of 1917, Matisse traveled to Nice in the south of France, and eventually settled there for the rest of his life. The years 1917–30 are known as his early Nice period, when his principal subject remained the female figure or an odalisque dressed in oriental costume or in various stages of undress, depicted as standing, seated, or reclining in a luxurious, exotic interior of Matisse's own creation. These paintings are infused with southern light, bright colors, and a profusion of decorative patterns. They emanate a hothouse atmosphere suggestive of a harem.

In 1929, Matisse temporarily stopped painting easel pictures. He then traveled to America to sit on the jury of the 29th Carnegie International and, in 1930, spent some time in Tahiti and New York as well as Baltimore, Maryland and Merion, Pennsylvania. An important collector of modern art, and owner of the largest Matisse holdings in America, Dr. Albert Barnes of Merion, commissioned the artist to paint a large mural for the two-story picture gallery of his mansion. Matisse chose the subject of the dance, a theme that had preoccupied him since his early Fauve masterpiece Bonheur de vivre. The mural (in two versions due to an error in dimensions) was installed in May 1933, and remains in place at the Barnes Foundation (Merion, Pa.). The composition highlighted the simplicity of female figures in exuberant motion against an abstract, almost geometric background. In preparation for the mural, Matisse began using a new technique—that of building up the composition from cutout shapes of previously colored paper. From 1940 onward, the paper cutouts became Matisse's favored exploratory medium and, until the end of his life, the dominant medium of expression.

Another medium that Matisse explored and experimented with throughout his lifetime was drawing. As the most direct expression of the artist's thoughts, drawing often helped Matisse to work out compositional and stylistic problems or new ideas. During the mid-1930s, he created distinctive series of pen-and-ink drawings on the subject of the artist and his model, while in the early 1940s he conceived his famous sequences of Thèmes et Variations, sensitively drawn spare works in elegant, unshaded line, describing simplified forms of female figures or still lifes. In the late 1940s and early '50s, his drawings become bolder, the contour line thicker, the forms even more simplified and devoid of detail. The latest large drawings of acrobats (1951–52), executed with a thick brush placed at the end of a long stick, are made up of contour only. They are contemporaneous with a cutout series of Blue Nudes, and the two mediums seem to represent two different approaches to form and space. The relationship between figure-ground becomes ambiguous and space complements the intended form. The form appears almost sculptural.

Sculpture was another medium pursued by Matisse since his early years, and although independent in expression, it was frequently used to find a solution to pictorial problems or became an inspiration to painting. More than half of Matisse's sculptures were completed between 1900 and 1910; he also frequently worked in series, manipulating the form and simplifying it over the years. Among his best-known works belong the series of four Back reliefs (1903–31), the series of five Jeannetteheads (1910–16), and the Large Seated Nude (1925–29).

Matisse's creativity extended into the area of graphic arts and book illustration, the latter begun when he was already in his sixties, with the illustrations to Stéphane Mallarmé's Poésies (1932), and culminated with the cutout compositions (1943–44) for his book Jazz (published in 1947). But the crowning achievement of Matisse's career was the commission for the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence (1948–51), for which he created all the wall decorations, Stations of the Cross, furniture, stained-glass windows, even the vestments and altarcloths. The beauty and simplicity of this project constituted Matisse's spiritual Gesamtkunstwerk and attested to his creative genius.

Pinturas. Paintings

Reclining Odalisque (Harmony in Red), 1927 - Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) - Oil on canvas; 15 1/8 x 21 5/8 in. (38.4 x 55 cm) - Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.44)

 

Gourds. Calabazas - Henri Matisse. (French, 1869-1954) - Issy-les-Moulineaux, 1915-16 (dated on painting 1916) -Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 31 7/8" (65.1 x 80.9 cm) - Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund.


 

 

Armonía en rojo. La habitación roja. - 1908 - 180 x 200

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