Henri Matisse is best known for his paintings and use of color, but he also created innovative stage designs for ballets. Two Dancers (Study for Rouge et Noir) is a stage curtain he designed in 1938. The work features gouache on paper, cut and pasted notebook papers, pencil, and thumbtacks.
Matisse pioneered the revolutionary technique of using cut paper to create art. This method gave him greater autonomy over his artwork by working without having to paint directly onto a canvas. Two Dancers displays figures expressing light pleasure and joy with a loose and undefined style that resembles bean bag dolls.
The painting serves as a precursor to Matisse’s final design for the actual stage curtain of Rouge et Noir where the dancers were depicted in heavier lines with more detail visible. Art enthusiasts can appreciate how this piece shows Matisse’s skillful use of organic forms combined with abstract shapes presented in bright colors that convey positive energy.
To understand the style better or compare it with other works from the artist, refer to some of Matisse’s famous works such as Woman Reading, Still Life with Green Checkered Tablecloth or L’Escargot – all beautiful paintings showcasing his masterful use of colors and texture associations.