Henri Matisse

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Henri Matisse was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Famous for representing the human form as his source of inspiration, more particularly the beauty of the female form, he was born in 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France and died at the age of 84 in 1954 in Nizza, France (henri-matisse.net, 2011). He was one of the first artists who exemplified the Fauvist art movement. The work he produced in almost six and a half decades is now presented in the art exhibition ‘Matisse: Drawing Life’ in the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane. A good example of his ability to present human expression can be found in his artwork ‘Le Bonheur de vivre’ (‘The Joy of Life’).

The artwork ‘Le Bonheur de vivre’ was produced in 1905 – 1906 (wikipedia.org, 2012). Henri Matisse used many different ways of drawing and painting throughout the years and gesture drawing was one of his specialties. The main aspect that this work reflects is the human figure, which is typical of Matisse’s work. In addition in this work the human figure is shown in a variety of positions and sizes. The artwork has a size of 175.6cm x 241cm and Matisse has used oil colours on canvas to create it. It resides in the Barnes Foundation, Merion, Paris (Nicolas Pioch, 2002). The artwork was hung without a big frame that would possibly distract the viewer, so the focus is on the drawing. The work depicts a clearing in a forest with a group of six people dancing around, two lying down, and one couple kissing and there are also two people who are playing the flute. In the very background the viewer can see the sea. The artist has used bright colors that give the drawing a happy atmosphere.

The artwork is representing the things that make life enjoyable, ‘Le Bonheur de vivre‘- ‘The Joy of Life’. Being together in a group, in nature, playing music and having fun is an easy way for humans to…...

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