Fish tank in the room (1912) by Henri Matisse

Fish tank in the room - Henri Matisse - 1912

Artwork Information

TitleFish tank in the room
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementExpressionism

About Fish tank in the room

The artwork titled “Fish tank in the room,” created by Henri Matisse in 1912, exemplifies the Expressionist movement and is classified as a still life. This piece reflects Matisse’s expressive use of color and non-traditional representation of form, typical for the Expressionist period in which it was conceived.

In the artwork, we observe a composition that juxtaposes organic and geometric forms. On the left of the canvas, a cylindrical fish tank dominates the space, housing vibrantly hued fish that add a dynamic quality to the otherwise static scene. To the right, a sculptural depiction of a nude figure sits contorted, almost blending into the dark background. Between these two elements, a vase with blossoms introduces additional organic shapes and a burst of color that echoes the liveliness of the fish. The palette is daring with stark contrasts, and the treatment of light and shadow is rather flattened, reducing the sense of depth, which is characteristic of Matisse’s departure from realism. Overall, the piece is a bold, structured arrangement of forms that balance the figurative and the abstract.

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