Still Life with Geranium

Still life of geranium plant, fruit, water pitcher, and two cats.
© 2018 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • Still life of geranium plant, fruit, water pitcher, and two cats.

Date:

1906

Artist:

Henri Matisse
French, 1869–1954

About this artwork

Like his artistic hero, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse merged the traditional and the avant-garde. In Still Life with Geranium, he transformed a simple still life into a populated Arcadian landscape painting, rendered in the brilliant color, thick paint, and rapid brushwork characteristic of the group of painters known as the Fauves (French for “wild beasts”). Matisse was recognized by critics as the leader of this group.

This composition is one of contrasts—the pale palette and light brushwork in the upper half of the picture are juxtaposed with the darker colored, heavily painted lower half; the firmly planted pose of the female figure is contraposed with the almost-fleeing figure of the male; and the red vegetables grown near Paris are set near ceramic objects from exotic, faraway places. One of many still-life paintings in which Matisse incorporated his own figurative sculptures, here the artist challenged his viewers’ expectations by rendering his modeled figures with minimal color and simple lines. Probably represented as plaster casts, these figures would later be made in bronze editions by the artist; versions of Woman Leaning on Her Hands (on the right of the geranium) and Thorn Extractor (on the left) are also in the collection of the Art Institute.

On View

Modern Art, Gallery 391

Artist

Henri Matisse

Title

Still Life with Geranium

Origin

France

Date

1906

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

100.3 × 81.5 cm (39 1/2 × 32 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Joseph Winterbotham Collection

Reference Number

1932.1342

Copyright

© 2018 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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