Modern Art

Modern Art

Assignment 2 - Formal analysis of Henri Matisse's The Open Window, Collioure

The Open Window, Collioure was painted in 1905 by Henri Matisse and is oil on canvas painting. This piece is an example of the fauvist style that Matisse had become famous for. Fauvism was not really a formal movement that followed a set of rules and regulations, this is quite apparent in this piece. At first glance the painting itself is simplified, but then you notice the colours are exaggerated to counteract this. The overstated colours are not reduced so much by the simple drawing as much as they balanced it out. “It is easy to sort out the pairs of complementary colours that structure it, make it vibrate and visually expand, and that order our gaze never to stop at any given point” (Foster, 75). The images in this painting are so simplified that they take on more of a decorative function, the objects in the painting are more shapes then actual objects, this also questions the landscape tradition. Also shadowing is not used and a gradation of colour is not apparent, everything seems to remain flat. This is not to say that the painting is just a disorderly mess Despite Matisse’s deliberate disharmonies of colour, the composition has an intuitive sense of formal order and cohesiveness.

The painting is filled with light that's alive and captivating, but Matisse did not really use any colours that are actually used in nature. There is an agglomeration of blue boats that float on the waves of pink water that are below a sky banded with colours of pink, turquoise and purple. There is an open window which reflects the colours of the outside, very bright greens and, mauves and robin egg blue. Again, colours that are not often found in actual nature. Colour seems to be Matisse's intention and style and he refused to be limited to only colours that are naturally found around us.

The Open Window, Collioure was painted in the summer of 1905, when Matisse worked in the...

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