The Three O’Clock Sitting (1924) by Henri Matisse

The Three O'Clock Sitting - Henri Matisse - 1924

Artwork Information

TitleThe Three O'Clock Sitting
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementFauvism

About The Three O'Clock Sitting

“The Three O’Clock Sitting” is a genre painting by Henri Matisse, completed in 1924. It aligns with the Fauvism art movement, known for its vivid, non-naturalistic colors and bold brushwork. Matisse, who was a leading figure in this movement, demonstrates these characteristic features in this artwork.

The artwork depicts an interior scene with two central figures—a standing nude model and a seated woman, possibly an artist, who gazes attentively at a canvas on an easel. The setting includes elements typically found in an artist’s studio: the easel, a painting, and a stool with a palette resting upon it. The room opens through a large window to an exterior view, with a glimpse of rich, green foliage.

Dominated by strong, vibrant colors, the work exhibits a bold use of reds on the floor and the model’s drapery, juxtaposed with the cool blues of the seated woman’s dress and the green decorative elements in the surrounding. The treatment of light and depth deviates from naturalistic representation, leaning into a more expressive, emotional aesthetic. Matisse’s brushstrokes are evident and contribute to the dynamic texture of the composition.

Despite the title suggesting a time of day, the painting doesn’t employ chiaroscuro to denote a specific hour. Instead, Matisse focuses on the color harmonies and composition to evoke a sense of the moment. The painting, while capturing a seemingly candid scene, emphasizes form, color, and the artist’s personal expression over the realism and narrative detail that might be found in traditional genre paintings.

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