Oil on canvas
Unframed: 95.6 x 70.8 cm (37 5/8 x 27 7/8 in.)
Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley Collection Gift 2020.111
© Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Matisse once wrote that he felt as though all the natural charm was lost from a bouquet of flowers picked from his garden when he arranged them.
Henri Matisse, leader of the French Fauves (“Wild Beasts”), advocated the complete liberation of color from natural appearances and reducing formal elements to absolute essentials. “What I dream of,” he wrote, “is an art of balance, purity, and serenity.” In Tulips a vase of flowers floats mysteriously against fields of thinly applied turquoise, aqua, and lavender. While the colorful tulips express a joyful sentiment, the vase rests precariously on a planar shape, perhaps a tabletop. The uncertainty of the vase’s position as it extends over the edge, and whether the tabletop continues to the right through a plane of transparent color, together with the strange black rectangle in the background, inserts a contravening feeling of disquiet and visual tension into the time-honored genre of still-life painting.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email email@example.com.