Goldfish (1911) by Henri Matisse

Goldfish - Henri Matisse - 1911

Artwork Information

ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions140 x 95 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationPushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia

About Goldfish

Henri Matisse’s artwork “Goldfish” is an oil on canvas created in 1911. Characteristic of the Post-Impressionist movement, the painting showcases the artist’s unique use of vivid color and fluid brushwork. The dimensions of this animal painting are 140 cm by 95 cm. It is housed at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Russia. This composition reflects Matisse’s fascination with the subject of goldfish, which recurs in his work as a motif of contemplation and serenity.

The artwork presents a vibrant scene centered around a glass bowl containing goldfish, placed on what appears to be a round table or stand. These goldfish, painted in bold shades of orange and red, are the focal point and their color contrast strikingly with the cooler tones surrounding them. The bowl is painted with reflections and distortions typical of water, emphasizing the fluidity and translucency of the medium. Surrounding the glass bowl is an array of greenery, including plants and leaves with various shades of green that create a lush, organic background. In the backdrop, there are also hints of floral decorations that echo the color scheme of the aquatic subjects.

In the foreground, a discernible flowerpot can be seen, further adding to the botanic elements within the composition. The patterning on the wallpaper or textile in the background is consistent with Matisse’s interest in interior design elements, which he often integrated into his painting to enhance the compositional harmony and depth. The use of light and shadow adds dimension to the surface of the table, the foliage, and the fishbowl, while the simplistic representation reminds us of the artist’s movement towards the decorative and the abstract. Overall, “Goldfish” by Henri Matisse is a celebration of color and form that seeks to transcend the mundane through the beauty of nature’s simplicity.

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