Figure at the Rideau Releve (c.1923) by Henri Matisse

Figure at the Rideau Releve - Henri Matisse - c.1923

Artwork Information

TitleFigure at the Rideau Releve
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementExpressionism

About Figure at the Rideau Releve

The artwork titled “Figure at the Rideau Releve” is an expressionist portrait painted by Henri Matisse circa 1923. Utilizing oil on canvas as his medium, Matisse captures the essence of expressionism within this genre. The piece represents the innovative and emotive power characteristic of the movement, wherein the artist’s perspective and emotional response to the world take precedence over realistic representation.

The artwork features a figure seated by a window with a partially drawn red curtain. The subject is depicted with a neutral, contemplative expression, poised with one hand resting on a table and the other gently holding what appears to be a small item, possibly a piece of fruit or a personal object. In the foreground, a vase of vibrant red flowers stands out against a softly painted background, bringing a burst of colorful liveliness into the composition. Additionally, sliced lemons are scattered across the table, casting shadows which contribute a sense of depth and realism to the scene.

Matisse employs a limited but effective palette, with the white of the figure’s garment contrasting against the reds, greens, pinks, and yellows that fill the rest of the canvas. The brushwork is loose and expressive, typical of the expressionist style, allowing the viewer to sense the artist’s hand in every stroke. This is particularly evident in the treatment of the drawn curtain and the flowers, where colors blend and textures are suggested rather than painstakingly detailed.

Intriguingly, Matisse’s application of color and form transcends mere representation, invoking the interior life and mood of the sitter within the context of her vibrant environment. The simplicity of the composition, combined with the fluidity of expression, encapsulates the essence of expressionism, whereby the emotional content is paramount, and the connection between the artist’s subjective experience and the viewer’s interpretation is intentionally left open and nuanced.

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