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: Catalogue: Henri Matisse's The Music Lesson


Goldthwaite Higginson Dorr III



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The various stylistic periods of Henri Matisse reflect much of the development of modern art. Beginning as a traditionalist, he was influenced consecutively by the Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists before he became the leader of the Fauves. This style was more personally his than any of the others, for he was one of its founders. It was a natural outcome of his pointillist approach during his Neo-Impressionist period. As a Fauve, Matisse developed a highly decorative style of flat patterns and unusual color combinations. But he continued to develop and, in the first half of the 1920s, his style relaxed from the tensions of earlier years and became exuberantly colorful, drenched with Mediterranean light and atmosphere. He became increasingly absorbed in the exotic. His subjects ranged from scenes suggestive of North Africa to interiors of his home in Nice with its lush oriental tapestries.The two women in The Music Lesson also appear in The Moorish Screen, in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Although Matisse was again beginning to experiment, the style of the two works is similar. Both have the atmospheric softness and depth of his style of the early 1920s. They contain little evidence of the schematically composed or arbitrarily drawn work which he began around 1926.Referenced Work of Art
  1. Henri Matisse, French, 1869-1954. The Music Lesson 1926. Pencil on paper, 16 1/2” x 25”. Signed lower right: Henri Matisse. Accession 61.39.1.CollectionsPierre Matisse Gallery, New York; P. D. McMillan, Minneapolis, 10 December, 1948; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Bequest of Putnam Dana McMillan, 15 November, 1961.
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Source: Goldthwaite Higginson Dorr III, "Catalogue: Henri Matisse's The Music Lesson," <i>The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin</i> 50, no. 4 (December, 1961): 12-13.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009