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Open Window, Collioure

This beautifully complex view out a window onto a ship-filled harbor was Matisse’s first Fauvist work. The intense blocks of colors appear to be haphazardly placed, as if by wild beasts from which the movement got its name. But there is a logic and balance in the composition. The colors ‘function in complementary pairs—orange-red masts over blue hulls, red blossoms amid green leaves on the wall, opposing reflections of turquoise and pink. Complements such as these become more intense when seen next to each other.’ The colors were not placed to record a true to life recording of the surroundings, but rather to create a visually stimulating image. This sentiment is captured in a quote from Matisse ‘When I put a green, it is not grass. When I put a blue, it is not the sky.’

Original Medium: oil on canvas

Original Size: 21 3/4 x 18 1/8 in.

Date: 1905

Location: National Gallery of Art