The Painter’s Family (1911) by Henri Matisse

The Painter's Family - Henri Matisse - 1911

Artwork Information

TitleThe Painter's Family
ArtistHenri Matisse
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions56 1/4 x 76 3/8 in. (143 x 194 cm)
Art MovementFauvism
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Location Created France

About The Painter's Family

“The Painter’s Family,” a portrait by Henri Matisse, was completed in 1911. This emblematic work of the Fauvism movement is an oil on canvas, exhibiting the vibrant colors and bold brushwork characteristic of the style. The artwork measures 56 1/4 x 76 3/8 inches (143 x 194 cm) and was created in France. Currently, it is housed at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The artwork portrays an intimate scene set within a domestic interior, potentially the artist’s own home. It features four figures that are believed to represent members of Matisse’s family. On the left, a woman in a patterned dress is seated, seemingly engaged in a sewing activity. Beside her, a child rests against her, absorbed by the affectionate contact. At the center, two figures are positioned on either side of a checkered table, engaging in a game of chess. The figure to the right is reaching out to make a move, conveying a sense of action and concentration. To the right, standing upright, is a woman dressed in a black outfit with white accents, holding a yellow book or journal, her gaze directed outwardly, as if she is contemplating or watching over the scene.

The background is adorned with decorative elements such as floral patterns and wallpaper, and a sculpture displayed on a mantlepiece, juxtaposed with a vase of flowers to its right. The use of flat, unmodulated colors and the absence of perspective give the composition a strikingly modern and dynamic quality, challenging traditional conventions of portraiture. Overall, Matisse’s work exudes a harmonious and familial atmosphere through its simplified forms, bright palette, and candid depiction of a personal moment.

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