Harmony in Red, also known as La Desserte, is an oil on canvas painting by Henri Matisse. Created in 1908, it is considered a masterpiece by some art historians. Matisse was influenced by Post-Impressionist artists such as Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne. Originally commissioned as Harmony in Blue for the dining room of Sergei Shchukin’s Moscow mansion, Matisse was disappointed with the result and painted over it with red.
The painting features warm and bright saturated colors that contrast intensely with other elements within the composition. It generates a feeling of warmth and comfort. The stark contrast between the warm, bright colors inside the room compared to the cool colors of the outdoor scene creates an effect that vibrates between the two sections of the painting.
Harmony in Red went through three stages: first, it was painted green; then Shchukin ordered blue tones to be added to match his décor before finally being painted over with Matisse’s preferred red. Though not appreciated at first, this modernist painting soon became recognized for its bold use of color and simplification of form.
Overall, Harmony in Red is regarded as one of Henri Matisse’s most significant works due to its unique use of color that produces an atmosphere filled with warmth despite lacking any traditional perspective or realistic forms.\