Dance (II) (1909) by Henri Matisse

Dance (II) - MATISSE, Henri - 1909 - 2

Artwork Information

TitleDance (II)
ArtistHenri Matisse
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions260 x 391 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
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About Dance (II)

The Dance II is a triptych mural created by Henri Matisse in 1932 for the Barnes Foundation. Measuring 15 ft high by 45 ft long, the mural is one of Matisse’s largest works and was commissioned by Albert C. Barnes using canvas provided by him, rather than on-site. The subject of the dance had been a preoccupation for Matisse since his early Fauve masterpiece Bonheur de vivre. The figures depicted in The Dance II exude light pleasure and joy that echoes the earlier work.

Matisse’s use of color in this piece is striking, with vivid oranges, blues, greens and pinks intermingling to create a composition that bursts with life. It is not just color itself that captures attention but also clever use of negative space that creates unexpected visual effects.

Matisse is regarded as responsible for laying the foundation for modern plastic arts through his innovative approach to art-making. The bright palettes combined with abstract motifs arise from Fauvism are indicative not only of his technical prowess but also provide some insight into his process when creating work both large and small-scale. Overall, Matisse’s Dance II reflects an internal glow of positivity through dancing figures who exhibit harmony among nature based themes while still maintaining their ephemeral beauty against timelessness – providing an embodiment representing all forms encompassing human life through art history universally celebrated till today.

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