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© Matisse, Henri/BONO

Henri Matisse

Bronze Figure

Creation date:1908
Other titles:Bronsefiguren (NOR)
Bronze aux oeillets (FRA)
Object type:Maleri
Materials and techniques:Olje på lerret
Technique: Olje
Material: Lerret
Dimensions:60,5 x 73 cm
Indexing term:Bildende kunst
Motif type:Stilleben
Acquisition:Gave fra Nasjonalgalleriets Venner 1934
Object no.:NG.M.01772a
Owner and collection:Nasjonalmuseet, The Fine Art Collections
Copyright:© Matisse, Henri/BONO
Photo:Nasjonalmuseet / Jarre, Anne Hansteen  Download
Part of exhibition:Kunst 3. Verk fra samlingen 1814-1950, 2007–2011
Livets dans. Samlingen fra antikken til 1950 (NOR), 2011
Metadata:DigitaltMuseum API

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Henri Matisse worked from 1900 to 1910 with paintings and sculptures in parallel. In fact, over half his total output of sculptures stems from this period. Every now and then he would be directly inspired by his own sculptures when he painted, as is the case with The Bronze Figure. The painting’s principal component is the bronze sculpture Model in Repose I,which Matisse created a year before the painting. The sculpture has been placed on top of a modelling stand, and in the foreground there is a blue jug filled with red carnations. The lower part of a folding screen can be seen in the background, and from this small portion of a room we understand that we are in the artist’s studio. In The Bronze Figure, Matisse juggles with various artistic traditions and genres. The painting is a still life but also a painting of a human figure. It breaks with the tradition of painting a living model, even as it continues the classical motif of the naked woman, albeit in a sculptural design. The painting creatively thematizes the effects, traditions, and motifs of art.

Matisse’s artistic breakthrough was as the leader of the fauvists (Les Fauves), the coterie of artists who were the driving force behind the first avant-garde art movement of the twentieth century. The fauvists’ pictures were typified by their expressive colouring, fierce brushstrokes, and drastic simplification of reality. Matisse’s fauvist period was on the wane in 1908, but the painting The Bronze Figure continues his use of primary colours and radical simplification of the motif.

Text: Vibeke Waallann Hansen
From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0

Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945