Sunday, June 22, 2014

Expressionism (pt. 2)

Concerned with design and aesthetics (which, we must remember, is wholly loyal to the medium of art), Matisse painted with specificity of attention.  What he found really important in his artworks around this time was color.  This painting, entitled Open Window, he produced in 1905.
We are looking at an open window, with two panels on either side and an assortment of potted plants on the pane below, which opens out onto a seaside landscape.  This is very similar to Morisot's painting of her husband Eugène looking out of a window onto a harbor.  Here we can distinguish the images of boats at a dock, but they do not look realistic at all.  For one thing, they are not the right color.  The artist is utilizing his freedom of independent expression to embody subjects with new light, or at least with the unique light of the artist's own eye.  But the boats (along with everything else in the painting) are also conceived very simply on the canvas, with a single slide of the artist's brush to account for the mast and a few more crude dabs of color to fill in the rest of the boat.  The potted plants are mere dots of color speckled randomly in the frame of the window.  This is hardly Impressionistic; it's too extreme.  Critics were shocked by the simplicity and unrealistic qualities of Matisse's paintings, but the artist used simplicity because he wanted a more direct form of expression.  Too much form would have distracted from the colors, and Matisse's colors are the heart of his painting style at this point in his artistic career.  Later on, however, the artist turned to different techniques.

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