Three Bathers, Collioure,
with its bright colors and freedom of line and form, is characteristic of Matisse' Fauve style. These elements had been present in much of his earlier work but 1904 marked the beginning of their real development. Then, under the influence of Cross and Signac, Matisse turned from emulating Cézanne to experiments in high-keyed color. Exhibiting his Luxe, Calme et Volupté
at the Salon d'Automne of 1904, Matisse, with such artists as Derain and Vlaminck, was called a fauve
—a wild beast—by the critic Vauxcelles.A great series of studies of figures by the water developed from this revolutionary painting. Among the first of these was Three Bathers, Collioure,
painted a year after the explosive exhibition. Here, Matisse treats forms in a decorative, flat manner. The interaction of curved and straight lines provides variety within a well-composed structure. Colors also perform a primarily decorative function. A lingering element of pointillism is seen in the white dots of sailboats against the solid blue of the water. This painting exemplifies Matisse's fully developed Fauve style which he continued in the strikingly similar Bathers With a Turtle
of 1908 in the Louise and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Collection, St. Louis.Referenced Work of Art
- Henri Matisse, French, 1869-1954. Three Bathers, Collioure, 1907 (Les Baigneuses, Collioure) (Baignade). Oil on canvas, 24” x 29”. Signed lower left: Henri Matisse. Accession 61.36.14.CollectionsHodebert, Paris; Georges Bernheim, Paris; Soubies, Paris, Leopold Zborowski, Paris; P. D. McMillan, Minneapolis, 9 May, 1950; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Bequest of Putnam Dana McMillan, 15 November, 1961.ExhibitedParis, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, 1935
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Les Fauves, 8 October, 1952-4 January, 1953. Subsequently exhibited at: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 21 January-22 February, 1953; The San Francisco Museum of Art, 13 March-12 April, 1953; The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1 May-31 May, 1953.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1953.ReferencesArt Digest, XI:34, 15 April, 1937.
Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Matisse, His Art and His Public, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1951, pp. 97, 132, ill. 338.
Gaston Diehl, Henri Matisse, Paris, Editions Pierre Tisné, 1954, p. 49.