Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse
Vases of Flowers, Christmas Roses
Pen and brown ink on paper.
16 1/2 x 25 inches (419 x 640 mm)
Gift of Mr. Oscar and Mrs. Annette de la Renta.
© 2020 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Plants and flowers were an enduring theme throughout Matisse's career, whether as an ornamental flourish in his larger compositions or as a subject in their own right, as in this sheet of 1944. In a letter of 1945, Matisse suggested that, "A painting on a wall should be like a bouquet of flowers in an interior." Always challenging the boundaries between fine art and decoration, Matisse found in the organic, repetitive forms of plants and flowers the perfect medium to express his harmonious linear rhythms. In Vases of Flowers, Christmas Roses, the vibrant, intricate weave of flower petals and the curving arcs of the vases form an almost abstract pattern, which is drawn into sharp relief by the vast emptiness of the sheet, which Matisse described as the "precious whiteness" of a drawing.

Pierre and Maria Gaetana Foundation.
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