Olga Merson (1910) by Henri Matisse

Olga Merson - Henri Matisse - 1910

Artwork Information

TitleOlga Merson
ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions99.7 x 80.6 cm
Art MovementExpressionism

About Olga Merson

The artwork titled “Olga Merson” is an oil on canvas painting completed by Henri Matisse in the year 1910. As a representation of the Expressionism movement, the portrait measures 99.7 cm by 80.6 cm. Matisse, known for his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship, has crafted a painting that captures the essence of the subject through an expressionist lens.

The artwork depicts a seated woman, Olga Merson, in a relaxed, yet formal posture, with her hands resting gently in her lap. The artist employs a palette of vivid, contrasting colors, with bold greens and oranges dominating the subject’s attire, which is rendered in an almost abstract pattern. The background is a wash of a cool, calming blue that contrasts with the warmer tones of the figure, highlighting the subject’s form against the indefinite space.

Matisse’s brushwork is loose and apparent, characteristic of the Expressionist desire to convey emotional experience rather than physical reality. The subject’s facial features are simplified, with an emphasis on the eyes, which gaze directly outward. The overall effect of the painting is one of introspection and psychological depth, inviting the viewer to consider the interior world of the sitter as much as her external likeness. The treatment of light and shadow is subtle, and there is a notable lack of detailed rendering, which is typical of Matisse’s style and helps to evoke a mood rather than a precise, photorealistic depiction.

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