Tulips and oysters on a black background (1943) by Henri Matisse

Tulips and oysters on a black background - Henri Matisse - 1943

Artwork Information

TitleTulips and oysters on a black background
ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions61 x 73 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationMusée Picasso, Paris, France

About Tulips and oysters on a black background

The artwork “Tulips and oysters on a black background” was created by the artist Henri Matisse in the year 1943. It is a distinct piece representative of the Expressionism movement, measuring 61 x 73 cm. As a still life genre, it is part of the collection at the Musée Picasso in Paris, France.

This artwork presents a vibrant composition of tulips and oysters set against a stark, black background which contrasts with the vivid colors employed. The tulips are depicted with a palette of reds and whites, with bold outlines suggesting their voluptuous form, while the green stems and leaves offer a complementary color to the red. An element of dynamism is introduced by the way the tulips stretch in various directions, animated against the grid-like pattern that overlays the dark backdrop.

Adjacent to the flowers, a plate of oysters can be observed; their delicate forms and subtler hues create a textural contrast to the strong, painterly strokes of the tulips. A bottle adds a vertical component to the composition, and the tabletop, noticeable by its rich red hue, is accented with circular forms that echo the oysters and provide rhythmic repetition. Matisse’s technique of using bold colors and contours gives the artwork an assertive presence, characteristic of his style within the Expressionist realm, fostering an emotive response from the viewer. The arrangement of objects, each with distinctly defined outlines and the interplay of colors, creates a harmonious, albeit lively, still-life scene.

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