La Musique

The painting features two women in an undefined space, one reclining on a circular form and the other grasping a guitar. Already this painting shows Matisse’s love of simplified shapes and bold color which create the solid presence of his figures. Matisse lifted the gravity of his forms through his use of curving lines and free brushstrokes. The curving lines of the women set them apart from the yellow and red grid behind them and give them a comforting and appealing look. Their faces are drawn simply,  with “a few simple black lines [creating their] angled open eyes, thin high arching eyebrows, slender nose and closed lips.” Yet for their simplicity, the curve of their smiles seem to beckon to the viewer to partake in the visual and musical revelry. The music book is tilted into the viewer’s space and the blue woman’s right hand drops over the guitar’s sound hole in a strumming motion, breathing life and sound into this graphic work.

Original Medium: Oil on canvas

Original Size: 55 x 55 in.

Date: 1939

Location: Albright-Knox Art Gallery