The Fur Coat (1936) by Henri Matisse

The Fur Coat - Henri Matisse - 1936

Artwork Information

TitleThe Fur Coat
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementFauvism

About The Fur Coat

“The Fur Coat” is an artwork created in 1936 by Henri Matisse, a renowned artist associated with the Fauvism art movement. Despite the title and date often attributed to this piece, there is a significant discrepancy; Henri Matisse is not known to have a work titled “The Fur Coat” from 1936. Nevertheless, the artwork in reference appears to belong to the portrait genre, embodying Fauvism’s characteristic vibrant colors and bold brushwork.

Upon examining the artwork, one observes a portrait of a woman seated against a backdrop of tropical foliage. The subject is depicted wearing a luxurious fur coat that offers a rich display of warm brown tones, imparting a sense of depth and texture. She dons a stylish hat adorned with what appears to be feathers or flowers, enhancing her elegance. A bold red element, likely a chair or cushion, is visible in the lower part of the composition, providing a stark contrast to the earthy hue of the fur and the bright yellows of the background.

The woman’s facial features and her attire are rendered with a level of simplification and abstraction, hallmarks of Matisse’s style during his Fauvist period. The painting achieves harmony through the interplay of contrasting colors and the loose, expressive brushstrokes that define Fauvism. Matisse’s use of color not purely for descriptive purposes, but also to convey emotion and mood, is evident in the backdrop, which utilizes an unconventional palette to suggest a lush, exotic environment that surrounds the sitter.

The portrait encapsulates the dynamism and innovation of the Fauvist movement, emphasizing the emotional impact of strong colors and fluid forms over representational accuracy. Matisse’s skillful composition and his daring approach to color are indicative of his influence and prominence as a Fauvist artist.

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