Art Exhibition Review: Matisse: The Red Studio


People standing in front of artwork by Henri Matisse
People standing if front of the The Red Studio (1911) by Henri Matisse. The sculpture on the right is Decorative Figure (1908) also by Henri Matisse. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson

Saw Matisse at the MoMA this summer and it was quite nice and inspiring. I love seeing the work of artist who decided not to follow the rules when it came to art. Matisse and other impressionists created this art in the late 1800s and early 1900s when art was only deemed good or appropriate if it was very realistic. Many of them were rejected by art critics of their day. These artists created what they wanted and many others including artists today are still following suite. Loved it.


A painting of a young sailor by Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse. Young Sailor II. 1906. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson

I love seeing the brush strokes and his use of color. This painting I remember seeing in one of my art history classes. I love the overall tone of the painting and minimal color palette. I find it interesting that it appears he didn’t use any black paint. The painting has a cartoon-like quality with the bold outlines but none of them are black which I think was a good choice. The green and purple lines really make the whole image come together in a beautiful way.

Painting of a red room by Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse. Large Red Interior. 1948. Photo by Kimberly Ferguson

There were other paintings in this exhibit by Matisse but this one in particular caught my eye. To me, it feels like a window into a bright and beautiful world where objects dance and nothing is too serious. I think it’s so fascinating that this painting was made when it was, because whenever I see photos or films that are from this time period, the colors are alway dull. Everyone seemed to where black or brown and this painting- well all the paintings are the opposite. All of them are popping with color and life. Even in this painting, one of the paintings on the wall is monochrome - is it an artwork or a window into reality?


Let me know what you think with a comment below.