On this Day:
In 1961, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City hangs Matisse’s Le Bateau upside down for 47 days.
Henri Émile Benoît Matisse (31 December 1869 – 3 November 1954) was a French artist, known for both his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso, as one of the artists who best helped to define the revolutionary developments in the visual arts throughout the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture.
The intense colorism of the works he painted between 1900 and 1905 brought him notoriety as one of the Fauves (wild beasts). Many of his finest works were created in the decade or so after 1906, when he developed a rigorous style that emphasized flattened forms and decorative pattern. In 1917, he relocated to a suburb of Nice on the French Riviera, and the more relaxed style of his work during the 1920’s gained him critical acclaim as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. After 1930, he adopted a bolder simplification of form. When ill health in his final years prevented him from painting, he created an important body of work in the medium of cut paper collage.
His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.
Le Bateau (“The Boat”) is a paper-cut from 1953 by Henri Matisse. The picture is composed from pieces of paper cut out of sheets painted with gouache, and was created during the last years of Matisse’s life.
Le Bateau caused a minor stir when the Museum of Modern Art, New York, which housed it, hung the work upside-down for 47 days in 1961 until Genevieve Habert, a stockbroker, noticed the mistake and notified a guard. Habert later informed The New York Times, which in turn notified Monroe Wheeler, the Museum’s art director. As a result, the artwork was rehung properly (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Henri Matisse: I’d like your opinion on my painting.
CRITIC: It’s worthless.
Henri Matisse: I know, but I’d like it anyway.
Second, a Song:
“My name is Paul Priestley, former art teacher now a passionate art educator. I create my art history videos in my own studio where I write the scripts, film and edit my work. I hope you find my videos enjoyable and become inspired by the lives and work of these great artists.
My ‘The Life of an Artist’ series are designed for everyone, so you will not find ‘arts speak’ just fascinating information about great artists. Discover the fascinating lives of artists, their aspirations, what motivated them, who they influenced, what they created and why. Most videos are around 15 minutes long, but a couple of videos that recreate the lives of Claude Monet and Van Gogh are longer.
Henri Matisse biography: In this art history video about the famous French artist and painter Henri Matisse, I’ll tell you 10 amazing facts you did not know about Henri Matisse’s life. He got into painting late after training at Law School. He took three attempts to get into the Ecole des Beaux Arts , the best art school in France located in Paris, France. He was a very conservative individual, but his meeting with Andre Derain and Maurice Vlaminck led to the creation of Fauvism and a complete change in the way he painted. Matisse Fauve paintings are comfortable, very colourful and very easy on the eye. Later in life, after a bout of cancer, he was confined to his studio and decided to take up collage. During the time Henri Matisse was in his studio he produced cutouts, that we see today as amazing collages.”
Here are 10 Amazing Facts about French Painter Henri Matisse by Paul Priestly. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.” – Henri Matisse
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky