Open Window, Collioure (1905) by Henri Matisse

Open Window, Collioure - Henri Matisse - 1905

Artwork Information

TitleOpen Window, Collioure
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementFauvism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Open Window, Collioure

The artwork “Open Window, Collioure” is a celebrated landscape oil on canvas by the renowned artist Henri Matisse, created in 1905. This piece wonderfully encapsulates the Fauvism art movement, known for its strong color and energetic brushwork. It stands as a seminal piece within Matisse’s oeuvre and, although it currently resides in a private collection, its influence permeates the world of modern art.

The artwork portrays a view from the interior of a room, looking out through an open window, which frames a small section of the harbor of Collioure. The scene presents a vibrant and dramatically colorful panorama, indicative of Fauvism’s characteristic disregard for realistic colors and concern for emotional expressivity. The window itself is divided into two shutters, flanked by deep orange-red walls. The shutters are a bold blue, striking against the warmth of the surrounding space.

One can observe the masts of sailboats, which rise symmetrically in the center of the composition, cresting on a sea depicted through a tapestry of pink, blue, green, and white brushstrokes. The representation of water is abstract, reverberating with reflections and fragmented light. In the foreground on the windowsill, there are potted plants, invitingly rendered in blotches of deep greens mixed with pops of reds and yellows, adding a domestic and inviting element to the scene.

Above the window, darker spaces suggest a room interior that partially obscures the top of the window view. Across the courtyard, other windows are visible, featuring simple black sashes amidst a pale facade. The sky is dappled with clouds, executed in a rhythm of luscious pinks and cooling blues, providing a striking contrast to the other elements of the composition.

The bold use of color, a hallmark of Matisse’s Fauvist phase, doesn’t attempt to replicate the natural hues of the scene. Instead, it seeks to capture the intense light and emotion of the moment. This artwork is a major contribution to the Fauvist movement and remains a powerful example of the way color and form can convey essence over the exactitude of representation.

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