Henri Matisse’s “The Green Line,” also known as “Madame Matisse,” is a portrait of the artist’s wife completed in 1905. The painting is named after the distinctive green band that divides her face in half, creating a striking graphic composition. This unconventional use of color demonstrated Matisse’s innovative approach to painting, which emphasized emotional expression and bold coloration over conventional techniques.
The painting shocked the art world when it was first exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in 1905. It helped articulate the voice of Fauvism, an early 20th-century art movement characterized by its use of vivid colors and simplified forms. Although there are no traditional shadows or shading in Madame Matisse, the green stripe creates a sense of light and volume that adds dimension to her face.
Matisse believed that art should evoke specific moods and emotions through color alone. The bold greens, blues, oranges, and yellows used throughout Madame Matisse create a dynamic visual experience for viewers that draw them into the work. Overall, Henri Matisse’s “The Green Stripe” (Madame Matisse) is a perfect example of his innovation with coloration and techniques at creating stunning portraits that stand out even amidst decades or centuries old paintings making him one of history’s most prized artists.