Lemons and Saxifrages (1943) by Henri Matisse

Lemons and Saxifrages - Henri Matisse - 1943

Artwork Information

TitleLemons and Saxifrages
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementExpressionism

About Lemons and Saxifrages

The artwork “Lemons and Saxifrages,” created by artist Henri Matisse in 1943, embodies the characteristics of the Expressionism movement through its still life genre. It portrays a vivid assemblage of flora and fruit, with an emphasis on emotional expression over physical accuracy.

This artwork showcases a vibrant composition of colors and patterns. The background is divided horizontally into two primary areas: the upper section is a deep blue with vertical striations, perhaps suggesting a curtain or wall, while the lower section depicts a table or surface in red with a grid-like pattern that could represent a tablecloth. On this surface rests a vase, painted in a light blue hue with subtle shading, containing what seems to be a bunch of saxifrages, which are characterized by their round leaves and cluster of small, pale flowers.

In the forefront, a series of lemons, depicted in a bright yellow that contrasts sharply with the greens of their leaves, are scattered across the table, creating a sense of organized disarray. The leaves associated with the lemons are painted in broad strokes of green, with contours defined in a darker tone to give them dimension.

Overall, the brushwork is loose and expressive, typical of Expressionism, where the emotional content is conveyed through the artist’s deliberate exaggerations and alterations of form and color. Matisse seems less concerned with representing a lifelike image than with the interplay of colors and shapes, using compositional elements to evoke a mood and engage the viewer’s senses.

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