Henri Matisse | Standing Portrait Paintings
Henri Matisse (1869-1954), one of the most admired and respected French artists of the 20th century was the foremost figure of Fauvism, a style of painting that emerged in the early 20th century France. Adopted by a small group of artists (next to Matisse, some of the best known Fauvists include André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Maurice de Vlaminck and George Braque, to mention a few), Fauvism was an extremely short-lived but as it would turn out later, very influential art movement. The same goes for Matisse who is widely considered as one of the leading figures of modern art. Also a brilliant sculptor and printmaker, the French artist is nevertheless most famous as a painter.
The Dessert: Harmony in Red (French original: “La Desserte rouge”), also known as The Red Room was painted in 1908, at the height of Matisse’s Fauvist period. Interestingly, the Russian businessman and art collector Sergei Shchukin (1854-1936) commissioned it as “Harmony in Blue”. However, the artist changed it into red because he didn’t like the original blue version.
The painting is besides its distinctively Fauvist style also characterized by lacking the central focal point which reveals the influence of Impressionist painting. Like many other artworks from Shchukin’s art collection, The Red Room is now displayed in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.