Tea (1919; France) by Henri Matisse

Tea - Henri Matisse - 1919; France

Artwork Information

ArtistHenri Matisse
Date1919; France
Dimensions140.3 x 211.3 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationLos Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA, US

About Tea

The artwork titled “Tea” is an expressionist painting by the renowned artist Henri Matisse, completed in 1919 in France. Crafted in oil on canvas, it exudes the vibrant spirit of the Expressionist movement. The substantial format of the painting, spanning 140.3 x 211.3 cm, enables a robust visual narrative typical of genre painting. Presently, this artwork is a part of the collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles, California, United States.

The scene depicted in the artwork is a lush and vibrant garden environment, in which two individuals are the primary subjects. On the left, one person is seated in a relaxed pose, donning a white outfit, and appears to be reading or perhaps sipping tea, with a book on their lap. On the right, the second figure is also seated, gazing forward with a contemplative or detached expression, wearing a patterned dress that reflects the intricacies of the dense foliage surrounding them. Between them, a round table holds what seems to be the remnants of a tea service, complete with a teapot, cups, and what could be lemons or small pieces of fruit distributed across the table’s surface.

The background comprises a vibrant garden setting rendered with loose, energetic brushwork. A dog reclines near the person on the left, contributing to the leisurely atmosphere that pervades the scene. Matisse’s use of color and the dynamic brushstrokes imbue the painting with a rhythm and vivacity that are hallmark features of his work during this period. The spontaneous quality of the brushwork and the expressive use of color underscore the sensation that this is less a literal representation than a vivid, emotionally-laden interpretation of a moment in time.

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