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Painting, 1933, 503.2×1034.4 cm

Description of the artwork «Dance»

When Albert Barnes in 1930 ordered Matisse a large panel for his center, the artist chose his theme dance. Once upon a time "Dance", performed for the Russian philanthropist Sergei Shchukin, the glory of Matisse began.

Becoming a legendary legend, Matisse dreamed of monumentality. He wanted to paint the buildings. A huge panel for the Barnes Foundation, which was to be located in arch arches under the windows, was a step towards the embodiment of this dream - later there will also be a painting of the chapel in Vance.

Matisse wrote this "Dance" three times. The first option crept into the error in the dimensions, the second option also did not fit the order, but was later sold to the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. The third, as planned, adorns the Barnes Foundation.

It was creating the "Dance", Matisse first used the technique of decoupage (Fr. découpage-cutting). He did not open the method immediately, initially the master divided the work into three canvases of five meters each, armed himself with a brush on a long bamboo handle and began drawing. With the drawing everything went fine, but when it was time to paint, it was necessary to change forms again and again. "To create a composition for everything and get something that lives and sings, I could only touch, infinitely changing the color and black parts", - the artist told.

It was then that Matisse thought about using colored paper scraps. Initially, the cuttings were made of white paper, and then painted. But it changed the result again! The painted surfaces acquired a different sound, the texture changed, Matisse again was dissatisfied. Then he decided to immediately cut out of colored paper and no longer change its color.

"Cuttings from paper allow me to paint with color. For me it is about simplification. Instead of drawing a contour and filling it with paint - and one changes the other - I paint right in color, which is even more calculated that it does not have to be moved ". Once his first teacher, Gustave Moreau, predicted that Matisse would "simplify painting" ...

From this moment, the appliqué technique has become firmly in the arsenal of Matisse's favorite methods. And if at first it was only one of the ways, then from the 40s Matisse practically only works like that.

Matisse's decoupage combined his art of coloring, the maximum simplification to which he went all his life, and the Negro motives suddenly became known. The trips to Morocco, and later to Tahiti, were not in vain, Matisse's applications were akin to oriental paintings and primitivistic drawings. Unlike Gauguin, inspired by Tahiti, Matisse after his visit to Oceania came to the conclusion that heaven on earth can only be created by an artist. It's fine in Tahiti, but it's absolutely impossible to work there, he said. But when we look illustrations-applications to the book by Matisse, then we find the echoes of Oceania.

Cubists and futurists also used collages and applications, but they had a different purpose, they introduced elements of everyday life into the art palette (scraps of newspapers, labels, etc.). For Matisse, decoupage remained the method of creating a pure painting. Even without the strength to hold the brush in his hands, he continued to work. If we talk about the early paintings, which can be considered as prerequisites for the discovery of appliance technology, it is worth mentioning "Arab coffee house". Written in 1913, the picture of the Moroccan period as if predicts future carved silhouettes that will come to the fore in later works.

Author: Alain Esaulova
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Allegorical scene

Style of art: Expressionism

Technique: Decoupage

Materials: Canvas, Paper

Date of creation: 1933

Size: 503.2×1034.4 cm

Artwork in selections: 15 selections