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Flowers (Fleurs)

Henri Matisse

European Art

This canvas was painted one year after a critic reviewing the Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris used the term Fauves (meaning “wild beasts”) to describe similar paintings by Henri Matisse, in which bold brushwork and vivid, nonrealistic color denied any conventional perception of depth. Here, variable patches, strokes, and smudges of unblended paint, along with areas of unpainted canvas, render empty space and solid objects alike. For Matisse, such still lifes were a vehicle for exploring color, as he noted: “Construction by colored surfaces. Search for intensity of color, subject matter being unimportant. . . . Light . . . expressed by a harmony of intensely colored surfaces.”
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1906
    DIMENSIONS 21 5/8 x 18 1/8 in. (54.9 x 46 cm) frame: 2 1/8 x 26 7/16 x 22 3/4 in. (5.4 x 67.2 x 57.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed lower right: "Henri Matisse"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Marion Gans Pomeroy
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1909, provenance not yet documented; 1909, purchased at Galerie Druet, Paris, France by Birdie Stein Sternberger Gans (Mrs. Howard Gans) of New York, NY; after 1951, inherited from Birdie Gans by Marion Gans Pomeroy of Scarsdale, NY; October 11, 1961, gift of Marion Gans Pomeroy to the Brooklyn Museum.
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    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Henri Matisse (Le Cateau–Cambrésis, France, 1869 – 1954, Nice, France). Flowers (Fleurs), 1906. Oil on canvas, 21 5/8 x 18 1/8 in. (54.9 x 46 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Marion Gans Pomeroy, 61.243. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 61.243_color_corrected_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 61.243_color_corrected_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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