Zulma (1950) by Henri Matisse

Zulma - Henri Matisse - 1950

Artwork Information

ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst), Copenhagen, Denmark

About Zulma

The artwork “Zulma” by Henri Matisse, created in 1950, can be described as an expressionist piece that falls under the genre of nude painting (nu). This piece was crafted using gouache on paper and exemplifies the characteristics of the Expressionism movement. The artwork is currently housed in the National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst) located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In “Zulma,” Matisse employs a vibrant and bold color palette, with the primary figure depicted in blue, set against a contrasting backdrop of green and yellow tones. The composition is rather flat with a limited sense of depth, a trait typical of many expressionist works which often prioritize emotional expression over realistic perspective. The female figure is simplified into flowing shapes, reducing the complexity of the human form to its essential contours. Matisse’s use of bold outlines and the juxtaposition of complementary colors contribute to the dynamic and lively feel of the artwork. Although the figure is nude, it is presented in a stylized and non-sexualized manner, focusing on the beauty of form and color rather than the details of the human anatomy. This abstract representation creates an effect where the figure seems almost integrated with the surrounding space, sharing the same flattened perspective and decorative quality as the background elements. The artwork is a testament to Matisse’s mastery in color theory and his innovative approach to form, both of which mark significant contributions to the Expressionism movement and modern art as a whole.

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