Manila Shawl (1911) by Henri Matisse

Manila Shawl - Henri Matisse - 1911

Artwork Information

TitleManila Shawl
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationKunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland

About Manila Shawl

The artwork titled “Manila Shawl” by Henri Matisse, created in 1911, is a portrait reflecting the Expressionism art movement. This piece by Matisse, renowned for his use of color and fluid, original draughtsmanship, is housed at the Kunstmuseum Basel in Basel, Switzerland.

The artwork portrays a female figure adorned with a colorful shawl that features a floral pattern. The shawl’s vivid hues of green with red and orange flowers contrast markedly against the woman’s dark hair, which is complemented by adornments that echo the shawl’s colors. The background consists of a two-toned wall divided by a vertical line, perhaps suggesting a corner or a structural element in the space, with the left side rendered in a lighter blue and the right in a darker shade. Below, the flooring gives a sense of space and depth.

Henri Matisse’s brushwork in this portrait is apparent in the broad, loose strokes that give life to the shawl’s intricate design, and the way he captures the textures of fabrics and the woman’s serene, contemplative expression. There is a strong sense of the exotic in the choice of the Manila shawl as the subject’s garment, which complements the overall expressive quality typical of the Expressionist movement, with its emphasis on emotional experience over physical reality.

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