Thoughts on { Color | Henri Matisse,1869-1954

Henri Matisse Le bonheur de vivre The Joy of Life 1905 6

Henri Matisse, Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life), 1905-6

“Color was not given to us in order that we should imitate Nature.
It was given to us so that we can express our emotions.”

“When I paint green, it doesn’t mean grass; when I paint blue, it doesn’t mean sky.”

“I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black.”

“A certain blue enters your soul. A certain red has an effect on your blood-pressure.”

“A thimbleful of red is redder than a bucketful.”

“Colours have their own distinctive beauty that you have to preserve, just as in music you try to preserve
sounds. It is a question of organization, of finding the arrangement that will keep the beauty
and freshness of the colour.”

“Simple colours can affect the intimate feelings with all the more force because they are simple.”

“Color, even more than drawing, is a means of liberation.”

“Seek for the boldest color possible, content is irrelevant.”

“It is with color that you render light, though you must also feel this light, have it within yourself.”

“It is not enough to place colors, however beautiful, one beside the other; colors must also
react on one another. Otherwise, you have cacophony.”

“Put a colour upon a canvas – it not only colours with that colour the part of the canvas to which the colour has been applied, but it also colours the surrounding space with the complementary.”

“My choice of colors does not rest on any scientific theory; it is based on observation, on feeling, on the experience of my sensibility. Inspired by certain pages of Delacroix, an artist like Signac is preoccupied with complementary colors, and the theoretical knowledge of them will lead him to use a certain tone in a certain place. But I simply try to put down colors which render my sensation.”

“I am curious about color as one would be visiting a new country, because I have never concentrated so closely on color expression. Up to now I have waited at the gates of the temple.”

“My pictures are made up of four or five colors that collide with one another.”

Henri Matisse, 1869-1954


Painters [/ ) Odalisques, 1917-1928 | Henri Matisse and his model | Photos by George Brassaï, Paris, 1939
Checker Players | Paintings by Henri Matisse, 1915-28

Painters [*/ ) Portraits | Drawings by Henri Matisse, 1920-1954
Notre-Dame | Paintings by Henri Matisse, 1900-1914

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