Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) (1905-1906) by Henri Matisse

Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) - MATISSE, Henri - 1905-1906 - 2

Artwork Information

TitleLe bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life)
ArtistHenri Matisse
Date1905 - 1906
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions175 x 241 cm
Art MovementFauvism
Current LocationBarnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, US
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About Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life)

Le Bonheur De Vivre is a masterful painting created by French artist Henri Matisse between 1905 and 1906. The painting depicts figures dancing and playing music in a natural setting, using bold colors, shifts in scale, and distorted anatomies which shocked audiences of the time.

Matisse’s approach to the painting was radically different from his previous works, synthesizing ideas from artists such as Cézanne and Gauguin. His inspiration also drew from Japanese woodprints and Persian miniatures. He often painted landscapes in the south of France during his Fauve years and used those developed ideas to study larger compositions in Paris. It is no wonder that Le Bonheur De Vivre is often considered Matisse’s greatest Fauvist work.

The painting was purchased by American writer-poet Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo Stein after being exhibited in Paris’ Salon des Indépendants where it caused an infamous outcry among critics who dismissed it as “loathsome”. However, over the years, it has gained critical acclaim for its imaginative and modernist style that conveyed a sense of joy and happiness reflecting Matisse’s belief that the pursuit of happiness is something artists must strive for constantly. The central section featured a group of people dancing in a circle which was later reused in one of Matisse’s most famous works, The Dance.

Le Bonheur De Vivre continually captivates audiences due to its complexity despite its subject matter being so straightforward – pure joy transformed into art on canvas – marking not only one artist’s unique vision but also capturing an era with emotion depicted using color theory’s tenets together with distortion techniques.

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