Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Color of Genius

As many of us continue to experience unusually extreme winter weather, 
I am wondering if you are craving some wild and delicious color right about now?


I know I am!

In the previous post I spoke of rich comfort food, 
but two days of a spring-like melt last week, and I am greedy for more of the same...

So, bright greens and salads have replaced stews and hearty soups, and
spring cleaning has officially begun, with the hope of ushering in an early spring thaw....

(since we had snow last May, how we would love to see the season come on time this year!


How about some beautiful color inspiration by the extraordinary  Henri Matisse...

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts just opened an exhibit of Matisse masterworks.
 (on loan from the Baltimore Museum of Art)
This collection features works from the Cone Collection, "assembled by two Baltimore sisters–
Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone."
 After purchasing their first Matisse, they built one of the world's largest collections of his art.

"The Lute" 1943

Born on December 31st, 1869 in Northern France, M. Matisse studied law, (and passed the bar), but this was never his passion. It was only after he was recovering from an illness, and his artist mother had given him art supplies, did he discover his true calling.

"La Danse" 1909

“From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” 


His mother was a wise woman, telling him to listen to his 
emotions, instead of necessarily adhering to any rules of art.
He certainly heeded this advice,
(lucky for us)
and became one of the leaders of  the "Fauvism"movement.
A mode of expressionism, it emphasizes free brush strokes, vivid color, pure emotion, mood, feeling...
(I will add...JOY!)
 There is so much more information on the artists of this informal, most wonderfully free and creative art movement...way too much for me to post here...but this LINK is a great start.
 Matisse was classically trained, and the paintings below will certainly attest to his wide range of skill and talent...

"Woman Reading" 1894

"The Dinner Table" 1896
You can see Cezanne's influence here...
(she reminds me of a young Mrs. Patmore!)

It was while visiting the French Riviera in 1904, that Matisse had a creative breakthrough, painting with "simplified" brushstrokes and wild, saturated colors....
Although this may look like a simple technique, 
it takes great skill to achieve such balance and beauty.  

"The Open Window Collioure" 1905

"We move towards serenity through the simplification of ideas and form.......Details lessen the purity of lines, they harm the emotional intensity, and we choose to reject them. It is a question of learning - and perhaps relearning the 'handwriting' of lines. The aim of painting is not to reflect history, because this can be found in books. We have a higher conception. Through it, the artist expresses his inner vision.


Perhaps his theory can be applied to more than just art...


"Blue Nude" 1952,  paper cutout

Working on "La Serpentine" 1909

"La Serpentine" 1909

"Purple Robe and Anemones" 1937

Matisse was inspired by poetry, and on many mornings he would read the masters before beginning his work for the day....

For him, poetry was like oxygen: 
"just as when you leap out of bed you fill your lungs with fresh air." 
This kept him young at heart — like a sensual elixir of youth.

Merci, M. Matisse...
Here's to staying forever inspired and young at heart!

Much love and wishes for a happy week to dear friends and readers in all corners of our wild and colorful world...




  1. Oh how I need this right now as I sit up in my loft, the warmest place in the house! The wild winds are howling outside my window, but in my mind and heart, color is stirring up in the shape of WORDS and ideas.

    Since I am not PASSIONATE about drawing and have never taken up the brush, I don't know if I missed a calling. But I do know that art in its various mediums is part of my being. Music was the first and constant thing in my home, which led to dance, which led to theatre, then language and then writing. But everything that M. Matisse has said can be applied to so many things such as poetry and other forms of art. There is a necessary abandon and trust that must occur with that part of us that we cannot see, but eats its way through to our outer being. WE MUST CREATE.

    This was a delicious post my friend, with hope that art is INSIDE of us and that we can have an everlasting spring within us!

    Great works shared here! LOVE YOU!

  2. Dear Irina,

    Wonderful post of Henri Matisse and I love his paintings - and yes, she does look like a young Mrs Patmore.
    'The Open Window' is amazing - such a fabulous array of bright and bold colours.
    On the double decker bus tour around Nice we passed by the Matisse Musee and had we more time would have loved to go and visit it.
    Hope you have some Spring and warmer weather there soon.

    happy days

  3. Darling Irina,
    What a joy this post is, especially on a dreary day here in Budapest.
    The works of Matisse are so gloriously bold. The flat blocks of colour handled with such bravura and control are so uplifting. One senses that this was someone who definitely thought 'outside the box' and, thereby, changed the course of Art History.

    Artists who are really great are, as you say so well here, those who know the rules, can apply the techniques, think deeply about the subject and composition and then can throw caution to the wind and reinvent a new way of looking at the world. Matisse was certainly one of those people.

    In recent times we have come across the work of Francoise Gilot who, remarkably is still painting at 90 and whose work is represented by a Budapest gallery. She was the muse of Picasso and her paintings give more than a passing nod to him and to Matisse. Perhaps you may be interested to look her up?

    Wishing you a lovely day and a happy weekend when it comes.

  4. Morning darling!
    I love the work of Matisse. Colourful, expressive, unrestrained. Thank you for this colourful reminder which has put a bit of sunshine into this gloomy day!
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. I really love the Purple Robe and Anemones!!

  6. Irina,
    Henri Matisse' paintings are delightful. I love the woman reading. I like to see color in paintings, and his are surely vibrant with color. The picture of him sitting with the cat is so special. I enjoyed seeing his artwork.

    Have a nice weekend. I can't believe you had snow in May last year! It's raining here cats and dogs. I'll have to wait a little longer for spring.


  7. Thank you dear Irina for this wonderful post. So colourful to enligthen the last winter days. We're hoping for spring too. Your blossom tree is a such marvel ! Have a wonderful week end.

  8. I live fauvism. I find it to be one of those truly unique artistic movements where color is the focus and not form

  9. , Irina, I have to confess that I prefer his early work, and for the sake of conversation and maybe a spark of controversy, I must object to his quote about details."Details lessen the purity of lines, they harm the emotional intensity, and we choose to reject them, etc. etc. etc.." I prefer a quote from Michelangelo. " Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle". Of course, you know my work is very detailed and naturally I would feel this way. But I am also a huge detractor of Picasso's LATER work, which I consider just so much trash. ( oh I have been tarred and feathered for making such comments on You Tube,How dare I !) I know you will forgive me for offering my blunt opinion, but I find some modern art to be a lazy man's excuse for lack of talent. Sorry for the disagreement, hope you don't mind? Jeri

  10. Oh Irina what an absolutely stunning post...just loving it! Oh my, ......

    I don't paint or draw but I do appreciate Art!

    Love to you, Dzintra xo

  11. Beautiful post my dear. I must say my fave is the dinner table. Hope spring will bring some warmer weather your way.
    Have a good weekend Irina.


  12. So inspirational. "The Open Window Collioure" is my favorite here.
    It's art festival season in Florida, and I've visited several already. We actually have them all year, but some of the best are held the first quarter of the year because our weather is practically perfect during this time. I cannot tell you how happy my heart is as I walk through art shows. So much beauty and creativity. I'll think of you when I visit the next.

  13. Dear Irina, the promise of spring has really triggered your appreciation of things beautiful, and your Matisse review was the perfect escape for all your blog followers - no matter where in the world they happen to be. His greatness will endure beyond everyone's memory of the relentless winter. Thanks for inspiring all of us, and of course for your frequent and uplifting comments on my blog. Blessings to you and yours!

  14. Dear Irina,
    My favorite is ~Woman Reading~.. Although I appreciate his wide range and beautiful colors, this style of his is my favorite. Thank you so much for sharing dear friend.
    And thank you so much for visiting.. So happy you enjoyed Tea Rat and Rattus. Anita and I had such fun!

  15. Irina, Bless your heart, I was actually worried that I may have offended, I am so glad I did not! Yes, I understand your views too and respect them. I guess I have a serious "pet peeve" about some types of art... maybe it's because I make my living creating art and feel like some artists are trying to dupe the public. But I just love a lively art discussion! The thing that gets me is that his early paintings are so incredibly beautiful I am baffled and feel bamboozled that his style would change so drastically and still be viewed by the critics as masterful. Perhaps my view is simplistic, but my motto is " It's an artists duty to bring the world beauty" Thank you sweetie, for the chance to express my opinion AND for your very kind comments about my work.

  16. Lovely! I'm SO hoping to see
    the exhibit before it leaves Mpls.
    I've always been a big Matisse
    fan. His work just makes me
    happy : ) Like you, I'm also
    craving color and am starting
    to eat more salads. I think we
    have an internal clock, don't you?
    It's telling us that spring is just
    around the corner....Or maybe
    that's just wishful thinking! In
    any case, thank you for the lovely
    Matisse lesson and for this bright
    and cheery post!

    xo Suzanne

  17. LOVE your post and this artist for a very long time!

  18. Irina, what an informative and beautiful post. Yes, the paintings you showed brightened my day. It is very bright outside my window now, but that is because the ground is covered in a thick layer of ice and snow. Thank you for bringing me these bright, warm colors today. laurie

  19. matisse forever! wonderful post ...and thanks for your comment! :-)

  20. Hello dear Irina,

    This is a wonderful post on Matisse. I am sending you warming thoughts bursting with color. I hope when you receive this comment your wintry world is melting away and being replaced with the beauty of spring.


  21. YES! Forever inspired and young at heart!!!!!

    ~ Violet

  22. oh lovely post Irina(:)
    I hope you have a wonderful day too..

  23. Dear friend! I hope you are well!!! We have been traveling, so I'm just a little tardy here. I love Matisse and have a painting in the shop (which I've decided to keep) that looks very much like a Matisse (but sadly it is not). Enjoy the Matisse show! Cheers, Loi

  24. Irina, what a glorious post, thank you sooo much for sharing. I loooove Matisse, loved your tales and details. Hopefully spring will be to you in no time ;)

  25. This is simply inspiring, my dear sister! I was lucky enough to see in January "The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection", featuring paintings by artists such as Marc Chagall (one of my favourites), Duchamp, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso... I was in haven... of colours! Thank you for always visiting me! It has been such a long and cold winter that made me leave the blogosphere for a while... Thinking of you, Irina!


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