Henri Matisse’s The Red Studio – Power of the Red Color

Title: The Red Studio (L’Atelier Rouge)

Author: Henri Matisse (Born, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France, 31 December 1869 – Died, Nice, France, 3 November 1954 )

Date: 1911

Genre: Interior painting

Movement: Fauvism, Expressionism

Technique: Oil painting

Support: Canvas

Dimension: 181 cm x 219,1 cm (height x width)

Location: The Museum of Modern Art, New York City

L’Atelier Rouge (The Red Studio) was painted by Henri Matisse in the fall of 1911. (Image source: MoMA)

Its appeal lies in uprising to the spatial illusion! 

For examining the L’Atelier Rouge (The Red Studio) of Henri Matisse, we are in the Big Apple; the city never sleeps.

Feel the vibrant, dense atmosphere of this land! Let’s dive into it!

We are enjoying a leisurely stroll in Midtown Manhattan. First, we are heading to the MoMA. Then, we entered room 506 on the fifth floor.

How Does Henri Matisse Become Famous? 

How were Matisse’s seeds sown?

Once, he said, “From the moment I held the box of colors in my hand, I knew this was my life.” and after he enrolled at the local art academy, however, he truly wanted to study in Paris. After a battle with him, his father intended their oldest son, Henri, to take over his business; Henri arrived in Paris and started new unknowns. 

Henri Matisse working in his studio at the Hôtel Régina, Nice, 1952. (Image by Lydia Delectorskaya – Source: news.artnet.com)

Matisse promptly mastered the literary technique. Therefore he gained official tributes.

Although just as a staid academic career seemed within his grasp, Matisse refused all of them. He commenced experimenting with bold colors and modern subjects. Henri wants a challenge.  When Matisse painted The red studio” in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux in 1911, he was also trying to accomplish this object!

As far as we can tell, creating contemporary art might be rewarding and intriguing, but at the same time, it could be very challenging.

Henri Matisse’s Goal with The Red Studio!

We could not help but wonder what we saw! 

Take a moment to look all around this painting! Being in this room, looking at this large canvas makes us feel that we will cherish it in every circumstance.

There is a tradition in the art world; the artists in their studio show their work—this artwork is one strange example. At first glance, you may not realize this is a room, but in a heartbeat, it turns out that even though it is not physically represented as his room, surrogates for his artworks give us the idea of being his room.

The audience expects three-dimensional space, and the illusion of the space has ruled painting since about 1425. Matisse saw this tradition as a challenge. Matisse’s true goal was to destroy the conventional perspective.

Matisse’s actual studio color was white, not red. Matisse was painting this studio many colors in the first place, then he decided on red. As a matter of fact, if you take a close look, there are blue and yellow lines underneath the red color.

Henri Matisse in his studio in South France. (Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson)

The extensive red color flattens the painting. Besides, I want to state that using red in this painting to find a powerful enough color that resists the three-dimensional space is an intriguing attempt. Unfortunately, though, you dont have to look deeply to see the illusion still remains. Matisse has raveled out the perspective of the room, but it made no difference. It was useless. Matisse has realized that illusion was almost certain to triumph no matter how aggressively he tried to undermine it.

The Pure Structure by only Color and Line!

Yet we keep thinking to ourselves the entire canvas covered with bold, sharp red color except for his artworks, and the frames and the lines define the form.  

Here in this painting, he lefts absent, lacking color lines deliberately.

The Red Studio is on display in room 506 on the fifth floor of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). (Photo source: khanacademy.org)

He seems to have dismantled intentionally linear perspective, which is a crucial part of traditional western painting. Since the Renaissance, artists have used the illusion of space and atmosphere. Though, they were buried into the red land in The Red Studio.

In addition, abstaining corner line from the floor to the ceiling flattens the painting like the red color. On the other hand, the nude painting gives us the imaginary corner line that leads to a space. Finally, if we look closely, we can see some orthogonal on that table, and the chair leads to a bit of space too.

Furthermore, the clock without hands is the central axis of the painting. Since there is no hour and minute hand, we would not have a clue about the time as if time was suspended.

The Way Matisse Made His Works of Art!

See all the paintings on the wall and the floors in this painting! There are a few sculptures too. Did you notice that all the artworks are so detailed and full of color, although the everyday objects have simple outlines with almost no details? For the art critics, it means that making art was essential for him.

It is not only a rendering of Matisse’s studio; it is a form that allows us to rethink artistic conventions and helps to add new definitions and new challenges in the art world!

“Where I got the color red—to be sure, I just don’t know,” Matisse once mentioned. And he was continuing as “I find that all these things only become what they are to me when I see them together with the color red.”

Here we finish by examining The Red Studio, a revolt against conventional perspective and space. Matisse’s L’Atelier Rouge awaits your visit. He deserves praise for all his efforts. Letting you alone with his quotes; 

“What I dream of is an art of balance, full of purity and serenity… Something like a good armchair.”

Henri Matisse

Check out the review of another great art master’s work that challenges the traditional approaches to the art, here.

Last but not least, if you are intrigued by art, we will have a blast seeing you here. Hope every art-related thing will find you, see you in our following review. ????????✌

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