Henri Matisse’s Luxe, Calme et Volupté was painted in 1904 during the Neo-Impressionist period while vacationing in Saint-Tropez with fellow artists and friends like Paul Signac. The painting depicts a tranquil refuge with human figures, trees, bushes, sea, and sky created through spots of color and quick brushstrokes. This masterpiece borrows from the Neo-Impressionist style in brushwork but anticipates Fauves’ use of expressive color.
The painting’s title was borrowed from Charles Baudelaire’s poem Invitation to a Voyage. Luxe, Calme et Volupté is considered the starting point of Fauvism and foundational work in Matisse’s oeuvre since it paved the way for his later experiments with colors and simplified forms. In 1905, Matisse exhibited this artwork at Salon des Indépendants.
The view depicted on this painting is likely based on the view from Signac’s house in Saint-Tropez. The painting highlights Matisse’s interest in expressing sensations through his art rather than creating an accurate representation of nature. With its daring use of bold colors and expressive brushwork, Luxe, Calme et Volupté reflects not just the beauty of nature but also captures Matisse’s love for freedom and pleasure.