Henri Matisse’s La Danse is an iconic oil painting from the early 20th century, created between 1909 and 1910. The artwork caused a stir in the art world due to its brazen nakedness and incorporation of bold colors. La Danse features only three primary colors: blue, green, and red, showcasing Matisse’s penchant for experimentation with color.
Matisse’s expressionist tendencies can be attributed to the influence of fauvism, a style of painting that emphasized pure and vivid hues used aggressively. Commissioned by a Russian art collector, La Danse was later bequeathed to the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. One reason for La Danse’s enduring significance is its juxtaposition of seemingly ritualistic nakedness with vivid color usage.
Worldwide acclaim has seen critics describe La Danse as both menacing and forbidding at times or tribal and demonic at others. Fortunately, this work remains on view for all people looking to investigate how art supports several interpretations based upon its audience perspective.