Circus (Le Cirque) (1947) by Henri Matisse

Circus - Henri Matisse - 1947

Artwork Information

ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions42.2 x 65.3 cm

About Circus

“Circus” is a work by Henri Matisse created in 1947. It is a vibrant piece with dimensions of 42.2 cm by 65.3 cm. The artwork is typical of Matisse’s later period when he was engaged with paper cut-outs.

This composition bursts with dynamic forms and bright, contrasting colors. A central figure of a dynamic, silhouetted acrobat is caught mid-leap against a patchwork of blue, with a red curve perhaps indicating a swing or a flourish of movement. The word “CIRQUE” is prominent, arranged vertically in a pattern of letters that resemble the playful, bold typography often associated with circus posters. The use of abstracted shapes and a limited but bold color palette conveys the exhilarating and performative nature of the circus. Matisse’s work is marked by its expressive use of color and innovative techniques, which in his later years included cutting into painted paper to create lively and engaging compositions like this one.

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