Henri Matisse: Those bright and bold colors

Henri Matisse was born in the small town of Lecado, France, and is a famous French painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He is known as one of the most important painters of the 20th century. He is the founder and main representative of the Fauvism. He is famous for his use of bright and bold colors; he has expanded his creative fields to include sculptures, prints, murals, and illustrations. Achievements also show extraordinary talents.

Originator of Fauvism
Before the age of 21, the famous founder and representative of the Fauvism was no different from an ordinary young man. He was regarded as a dragon by his father. He studied law and returned to his hometown after completing his studies. He worked as a clerical job in a law firm and was mainly responsible for copying archived materials. .

Matisse dreams of breaking free from the “cage.” Later, in his works, soaring birds and swimming fishes all expressed a sense of relief. Matisse said that his artistic cell was inherited from his mother. His mother’s side job is hand-painted tea cups. The sharp turn of life happened at the age of 21. Matisse was sick and was admitted to the hospital. He was very bored, so his mother sent a set of drawing tools to help him pass the time. As a result, Matisse fell in love with painting like a charm. At the age of 22, he made up his mind to be a painter, so he went to Paris to study. The young Matisse came to Paris and spent the whole day spending time in the Louvre with the classical masters. During this period, he completed many amazing copyings. After all, the familiar Matisse often means strong colors and exaggerated shapes, and these paintings are too normal.

In fact, Matisse is like a sponge, the old masters of the Louvre, the ancient sculptures from far away Africa, the artistic philosophy of the mysterious East, and the artists of all kinds of contemporaries…all have become the nourishment for his self-filling. Matisse has tried various painting styles such as classical, impressionist, and post-impressionism throughout his life. “Fauveism” is only one of the highlight labels on his body, and he has gradually found his direction in the changing of styles again and again.

The task of plastic arts is to express as directly as possible what belongs to the emotional range in the simplest way. Describing historical events is not part of painting. Painting is a tool for painters to embody their inner feelings. Matisse, who walked out of the Louvre, gradually walked out of the shadow of the old master and got rid of the constraints of traditional plastic arts. While the oil paintings in the Louvre are still narrating the grand history, the impressionist artists are already outside to capture the light and color in nature, and Matisse has also begun to try to sketch from life. In 1889, he and his wife Emily came to Corsica for their honeymoon, during which they completed at least 55 works, and did not have to go home until his wife became pregnant. Since then, writing has become an important creative method for Matisse, and travel has become a source of inspiration for his life.

At this stage from 1896 to 1904, Matisse’s innovative consciousness reached its peak. He began to pay attention to various styles of art, including Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism, and drew nourishment from them.

In 1905, the 35-year-old Matisse participated in the Paris Autumn Salon Art Exhibition. A critic named Louis Vossell was dumbfounded when he saw his work. Because this exhibition has many young people’s paintings with bright colors, which are very different from the realism of the Italian Renaissance sculptor Donatello. Vossell pointed to Donatello’s sculpture and exclaimed: “Donatello is surrounded by wild animals!”

This joke made a new genre-Fauvism appear in the history of Western art.

Matisse was embraced as a leader by these young painters, and he has become famous throughout the world. Throughout his career, he has been striving for innovation, and this exhibition is the best opportunity for us to re-read Matisse’s works.

The “Eggplant Still Life” created in 1911 is considered to be the “peak of decorative power” by Matisse. In addition, documents related to the colorful stained glass windows designed by Matisse for the Roselle church in Vence will also be exhibited. In 1930, the 60-year-old Matisse ushered in a trip to Tahiti. This journey also inspired him a lot of paper-cutting inspiration. He once said: “There are so many things worth seeing… Sometimes I feel that my stay in Tahiti has rekindled my imagination.”

“Love and Kill” with Picasso

Henry Matisse, “The Woman Wearing a Hat”, collected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA.

The source of creation is not hatred, but love. The spirit of competition is necessary, and the story of Matisse and Picasso “falling in love and killing each other” is always a topic that people talk about. Picasso and Matisse are undoubtedly the two peaks in the history of art, but the Chinese people say that “a mountain cannot tolerate two tigers” does not seem to exist in them. They have a half-century friendship, and of course, there are some “small frictions.”

Henry Matisse, “Romanian Jacket”, 1940.

As the founder of Fauvism, Henri Matisse’s influence is not only reflected in his influence on later artists, such as the master of abstraction, Mark Rothko, but also in various fields, even in your clothes. .

Matisse is 12 years older than Picasso, and they met because of Ms. Gertrude Stein. Stein was a writer, and even Hemingway was deeply influenced by him. When Stein introduced them, Matisse had already achieved fame and was the darling of Parisian high society. And Picasso was just a poor painter who lived a bohemian life in the “laundry shop”. At the first meeting, Matisse was eloquent, but Picasso couldn’t say anything, which made the stronger Picasso always worry about it.

The older Matisse had a fatherly love for Picasso. He was not without influence on Picasso’s creation of Cubism. According to Matisse’s memory: “On Rue Rennes, I often pass by Per Sovager’s shop, and there are often small and exquisite black sculptures on the windows. I was moved by their characteristics, especially the innocence of their lines, because it was simply It’s as good as Egyptian art! So I bought one for Stein. Soon, Picasso came, and he immediately fell in love with this small sculpture. The next morning, I walked into his studio and saw the floor full of canvases. The same content is painted on all canvases—a woman’s face with only one eye on it, a long nose stuck in the mouth, and a piece of hair draped over the shoulders. Cubism was born.”

Although the two of them sometimes struggled secretly, they still showed mutual appreciation. A reporter asked Picasso: If you started painting again, how would you paint? Picasso said: I will paint like Matisse! The reporter said: God, Matisse’s answer is to paint like Picasso! To prove their mutual appreciation, the two often exchange works. Picasso collected Matisse’s “Portrait of Marguerite” painted by his daughter, and Matisse collected Picasso’s “Jug, Bowl and Lemon”. The two works were actually the same size.

Matisse later settled in Nice, and Picasso would always visit Matisse. Whenever Picasso was about to leave, Matisse always muttered to himself: “I hope you come often, we should talk more together. If one of us is dead, there are some things, who will the other talk to? !”

When Matisse died, Picasso did not attend the funeral and did not even answer the phone call of Matisse’s daughter. But a few months later, Picasso repainted Delacroix’s “Woman of Algiers” in Matisse’s color style. I don’t know if he is mourning Matisse in a unique way to commemorate the friendship between each other for nearly half a century.

The 72-year-old Matisse could no longer stand in front of the canvas because of a serious intestinal disease, but he did not stop his creation. He tied a pencil or charcoal to the end of a long wooden stick and threw a javelin on the bed. Painting a mural.

The Oriental Complex in Matisse’s Paintings
As one of the greatest painting masters in the West, Matisse has very obvious Eastern elements in his works. Pure colors, pen-and-ink lines and subjective refinement of the characters all show the relationship between Matisse and Eastern art. Close connection. Matisse’s unique painting style not only shows his artistic talent and strong desire for creation, but the most important thing is his bold and innovative spirit of traditional Western realistic painting. There are many places in his works that draw on Eastern art. Essence. He drew a lot of nutrients from Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, Chinese paintings, Chinese paper-cutting art and ceramic art. These arts with a strong oriental charm also brought many new artistic elements to Matisse’s paintings.

There are many places in Matisse’s works that have absorbed the essence of Oriental art. He has absorbed a lot of nutrients from Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, Chinese paintings, Chinese paper-cutting art and ceramic art. These have a strong oriental charm. Art also brings many new artistic elements to Matisse’s paintings.

Japanese Ukiyo-e prints were first understood by Western art circles because they were used to package porcelain. They came to Europe as a very cheap packaging material and gradually attracted people’s attention. It not only affected Manet and Gauguin, the representatives of Impressionism, but also Matisse. In his paintings, the simple and strong color expression has a subtle connection with the Ukiyo-e prints, which are strongly decorative and expressive.

Matisse first saw Japanese Ukiyo-e prints at the Oriental Art Fair in Paris in 1903. The color of Ukiyo-e prints is gorgeous, simple, vivid, and strong. The expressive power of this color shocked Matisse, because this is exactly the color form that Matisse wants to pursue. In the process of painting creation, Matisse depicts objects through his own subjective emotions and feelings of objective objects. He abandons traditional Western paintings that only use light and shadow to depict objects, which is similar to the simple and gorgeous ukiyo-e prints. The colors are very similar. Matisse particularly likes to use flat painting to depict objects. The application of color to this flat painting will give the viewer a strong decorative beauty, which is also in line with the realm pursued by Japanese Ukiyo-e prints. Blended together naturally. Matisse uses the simplest color language to depict the fresh and refined beauty of nature, which makes his works have a mysterious oriental mood.

Matisse has a keen interest in Eastern painting. He has absorbed many elements from traditional Chinese painting, and his paintings have a clear oriental charm. Traditional Chinese painting has unique expressive techniques in composition, color, and character image. In addition, a flat artistic style is used to express objects in the picture. The use of pure color also adds artistic significance to the picture. It is this kind of state that Matisse pursues.

Chinese traditional painting has a far-reaching influence on the western art world, especially the unique expression form of Chinese traditional painting in composition, which has a great influence on modernist painting. In Matisse’s paintings, there are many similarities in the composition of traditional Chinese paintings. He has integrated the essence of traditional Chinese painting composition into his paintings through research, making the paintings more unique and expressive in form. In his works, he mostly uses flat-painting techniques to express the relationship between objects and space. He breaks the scientific perspective theories and methods in traditional Western painting, and subtly incorporates the perspective methods absorbed from traditional Chinese painting. In my own work, the picture is richer.

Most of the perspective methods in traditional Chinese paintings are based on “scattered perspective.” Matisse borrowed from this unique perspective method and combined this perspective method with the perspective method of Western traditional painting. This bold innovation of the perspective relationship by Matisse drove the change of space in the picture. Matisse’s expression of space is the gradual transformation from the three-dimensional spatial relationship of the original Western traditional paintings to the later flat and simplistic spatial relationship. This process is also the process of Matisse’s development from simply imitating nature to the essence of nature. The process of pursuing and expressing the artist’s own spiritual world.

Traditional Chinese painting pays special attention to the use of blank space in the paintings. Blank space is used as a kind of artistic conception in traditional Chinese painting. It can lead the viewer into the world of their own imagination, allowing the creator to communicate with the viewer. Among the many paintings in the West, few have left a large amount of blank space like Chinese paintings, but Matisse blends the blank space with the picture very well, and makes the blank space above his own artistic imagination. Artistic creation.

In many of Matisse’s surviving works, whether it is for characters or objects, he only depicts the outer contours, and has not done much in the internal structure. However, most traditional Western paintings require painters to portray the appearance and structure of figures or objects in a detailed and precise manner. On the contrary, Chinese traditional painting focuses on the expression of “intention”, which is a kind of perceptual creation. In many traditional paintings in China, the image of the characters is between the likeness and the dislikeness, based on natural foreign objects, coupled with a high degree of generalization and refinement, to create an ideal image.

The clean lines and single color peculiar to paper-cutting make Matisse love it. He uses the most common tools to create images full of vitality for the world.

In traditional Chinese literati paintings, painters often create a work with only a few strokes. It is a kind of extreme perceptual creation. The painter’s subjective consciousness has been sublimated to the spiritual level of the unity of the object and the self, and the painter’s inner feelings are expressed through the subjective depiction of the external image. As a master of painting, Matisse also pursues this form of simplifying the expression of the painter’s inner feelings, as he said: “The easiest way is the way that enables the artist to express himself best.” This sentence is also exactly what he said. The true emotions of ancient Chinese painters, in traditional Chinese figure paintings, the painter pays special attention to the feeling of the whole painting, no matter how detailed the painting is, it cannot surpass the painter’s own true feeling.

Draw with scissors
In 1942, Matisse once said: “The importance of the artist is measured by the number of new symbols he introduced into visual language.” In fact, Matisse in this period has already undergone two painful operations due to serious intestinal diseases. , The weakness of his body made him no longer able to stand in front of the canvas to paint.

From Matisse’s creations, one can discover the concept of “counterpoint” hidden in it. When viewers have the opportunity to compare two or more works by the artist, they may be interested in Matisse’s “life of beasts”. Have a deeper understanding.

So he started a new kind of artistic creation-paper-cutting. In order to cut out the colorful works, he also dyed the colored paper he needed by himself, leaning against the bed and cutting ceaselessly. This became an opportunity for him to undergo a disruptive change in his creation. In the last 15 years of his life, the painter Matisse once again shocked the world with his paper-cutting.

He gratefully calls it his “second life”, and this “light of life” is also shown in his works. Matisse’s paper-cutting looks so simple, it seems that every one of us can do it, and that frankness and simplicity is the true charm of his work. When three or less pieces of paper are crossed, they are stars, as if they were done by a child; small black and white squares dotted in a patch of yellow, white and green form a swarm of bees, as if insects are in the summer. Dancing freely among the leaves. But in fact, many detailed considerations, such as quantity, size, color, position, balance and arrangement, have been carefully designed by the artist. It is precisely because of this design that the stars shine and the bees groan. All this is a mature work, a reflection on the whole life.

Matisse’s studio is in Vence, on a hill outside Nice. From there, he began to work directly on the wall with the help of his assistant. He moved and combined pieces of pre-cut material, and fixed it with pins and tacks until the best effect was achieved. Today, these patterns are permanently mounted on paper and equipped with protective glass, and while Matisse was working, they danced with the fragrant breeze blowing in from the window.

The new materials used by Matisse gave him pure, matte, unadjustable colors. Every piece of paper, regardless of size or color, is the same in this respect, and there is no priority. Each shape is independent and self-contained, and while being related to other shapes, it still maintains its crisp and sharp shape. They sang solo and in chorus against the white background. They were never rigidly “independent”, but a dynamic part of the whole picture.

Striped, striped, curled, disc, and wing-shaped pieces of paper, put together in two pieces, instantly become fins, palm leaves, lemons, spheres, and goldfish. These cut out colorful shapes remind people of Matisse’s oil paintings, and those elements are now galloping freely in free space. And all this is related to another factor, that is the creative technique.

Matisse’s grandfather was a linen weaver. He is always surrounded by various materials and color panels at home, so he is well versed in the fluidity, weight and drape of these materials. Sometimes, his texture-filled oil paintings seem to be knitted, and the colors flow back and forth along the composition. And his paper-cuts include pins, color boards, and various customized patterns. He has been able to use scissors extremely well since he was a child.

“Blue Nude” is a masterpiece of Matisse, a set of 4 pictures, created in 1952, when he was 82 years old. At that time, he could no longer walk around at will, nor was he able to shake the huge and fragile paper on the wall. However, Matisse’s cut is so bold and so delicate that a lot of white space has been cleverly introduced into the wonderful blue character shape. A pair of scissors was suddenly used to contour, and then directly cut to complete the shape.

What’s interesting is that because this set of “Blue Nude” is published everywhere, people are more familiar with its printed version than the original, but Matisse is very dissatisfied with its paper-cut prints. This is because the original work made with scissors paste is obviously rich in layers, showing many subtle differences and contrasts. At this point, those monotonous lithographic prints are powerless.

Another important reason is the scale of the work. The huge paper-cut works created by the artist in the last stage of his life really caught people by surprise. Those organic patterns spread all over the wall. Matisse uses the most simple motifs in these creations, apples, flowers, leaves, without the slightest innocence, nor any suspicion of insincere. They condense all happiness, no matter how complicated the composition of the work is, they never cross or lose the simple essence of happiness. At that time, the bedridden Matisse regarded them as his garden.

It is conceivable that in order to create satisfactory works, the artist exhausted all the techniques he could think of, experimenting over and over again, until the relations between the patterns were properly coordinated. This is actually the artist’s lifelong practice. Matisse has always maintained a high morale, unremittingly pursuing and savoring the beauty of life, even if his life is nearing its end.

Memorial master
From October 21, 2020 to February 22, 2021, on the 150th anniversary of Henri Matisse’s birth, the Centre Pompidou in France held a large-scale retrospective, including more than 230 works and more than 70 documents and archives Among them, more than 100 of Matisse’s most representative and important collections were exhibited for the first time. This is the largest Matisse memorial exhibition in France after the “Matisse” at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1970.

This exhibition uniquely combines texts and paintings, divided into 9 chapters, chronologically, exhibiting Matisse’s representative works of multiple creative stages, including sketches, oil paintings, gouache paintings, prints, sculptures, book illustrations, etc. Presents Matisse’s explorations and attempts in various styles such as Fauvism, Cubism, Art Deco, and Abstractism. It is reported that in addition to the Pompidou Centre’s own collections, many French museums have also generously contributed to this exhibition. The Matisse Museum and the Grenoble Museum in Nice and Cato Cambres have contributed exhibits.

This exhibition leads people to explore the close relationship between text and images in Matisse’s artistic core, providing people with a unique perspective of interpretation, as described in the “Biography of Henri Matisse”, “He His line and color skills have reached the level of perfection and perfection. Such brilliant pen and ink tells us: Henry Matisse is indeed the king of painters.”