Henri Matisse thought that a painting should be arranged expressively, like a bouquet of flowers, and the assembly carefully brought together here illustrates this idea. Natural objects are juxtaposed with textiles, wallpapers, and other decorative objects. The bouquet of anemones in the vase rhymes with both the floral motif of the folding screen and the design on the teacup and saucer. The brightness of lemons and plums contrasts with the more tender harmony of the green vase, the pink tablecloth, and the candied pineapple cushioned by wood shavings in its straw box. All in gray tints, the two pictures on the rear wall could be drawings, prints, or reproductions from a book or magazine.
A public scandal over the challenging appearance of his works—the rawness and immediacy of their color in particular—brought fame to Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) in 1905. Matisse, however, was no less remarkable as a draftsman. Though the artist’s work went through many changes over a long career, its essential method was to distill his emotional response to a given still life, landscape, or human form (his principal theme) in luminous color and pure, flowing line. The museum’s holdings cover aspects of Matisse’s work from 1900 to 1950 across the mediums of painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, the artist’s book, and ceramics. Many of the key works came as gifts from Philadelphians who collected Matisse in the years following World War I.
Source: Philadelphia Museum of Art