Three Sisters with An African Sculpture (1917) by Henri Matisse

Three Sisters with An African Sculpture - Henri Matisse - 1917

Artwork Information

TitleThree Sisters with An African Sculpture
ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions195.5 x 96.8 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationBarnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, US

About Three Sisters with An African Sculpture

The artwork titled “Three Sisters with An African Sculpture” was created by the artist Henri Matisse in the year 1917. It is an oil on canvas piece associated with the Expressionism movement, a genre painting measuring 195.5 by 96.8 centimeters. This artwork currently resides at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

In the artwork, three women are depicted sharing space with an African sculpture. The scene is structured with an elegant interplay of colors and forms, which is characteristic of Matisse’s style. Two of the women stand while the third is seated, seemingly engrossed in reading. The upright posture of the standing figures contrasts with the relaxed demeanor of the seated woman. The African sculpture, although not the focal point of the piece, adds a cultural component, reflecting the influence of non-Western art on European modernism during the early 20th century.

The color palette is subdued with hints of more vivid colors such as green and purple, used to accentuate the dresses of the standing figures and enliven the composition. The use of bold outlines and the somewhat flattened perspective contribute to the expressionistic quality of the work, focusing on emotional representation over realism.

Matisse’s artwork is a manifestation of his interest in depicting domestic interiors and the use of pattern and ornamentation to create a harmonious household scene, maintaining the human figure at the core of his expressive intent.

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