Interior with a Violin (1917 – 1918) by Henri Matisse

Interior with a Violin - Henri Matisse - 1917 - 1918

Artwork Information

TitleInterior with a Violin
ArtistHenri Matisse
Date1917 - 1918
Art MovementExpressionism

About Interior with a Violin

The artwork “Interior with a Violin” by Henri Matisse, created in the period of 1917 to 1918, belongs to the Expressionism movement and is categorized within the interior genre. The piece reflects Matisse’s distinctive style and the Expressionist tendency to evoke emotional experience over physical reality.

In the artwork, one observes a composition that features an assortment of objects within a domestic setting. The perspective is non-conventional, with a flattened picture plane that disregards traditional depth cues, a hallmark of Matisse’s avant-garde technique. Two windows fill the room with light, one featuring shutters and the other partially opened to reveal a view of the outdoors. The bright blue and white tones of the open window contrast with the darker, moodier hues of the room’s interior.

A violin takes center stage, laid upon a table overlaid with what appears to be sheets of music. Its form is illustrated with broad swaths of color and distinct outlines that separate it from its surroundings. An element of abstraction is evident in the treatment of both the violin and its case—shapes are simplified and colors are used expressively rather than descriptively. Further enhancing the ambiance, the tabletop is adorned with patterned fabric, and punches of red add dynamic vibrancy to the setting.

There is a blurring of indoor and outdoor space, as seen through the window where the external world makes a bright and vivid contrast to the interior’s shadowed envelope. This inclusion of a lush, vegetative backdrop provides a sense of escape or connection to the world beyond the room’s confines. In essence, the artwork stands as a testament to Matisse’s exploration of color, form, and spatial relationships during his deep involvement with Expressionism.

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