MAN WITH A PIPE, Pablo Picasso, 1911 (© 2001 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)
Man with a Pipe, 1911, 35-3/4” x 27-7/8”, is a classic example of analytical cubism — the first of three phases of the art style known as cubism. Picasso is recognized as one of the founders of the movement that was greatly inspired by African sculpture, fauvism, and other art forms. Subjects in cubist artwork are first broken up, analyzed, and finally reassembled in an abstract way. Analytical cubism reduces subject matter to basic shapes and then reassembles the two-dimensional shapes into a seemingly three-dimensional representation.Man with a Pipeis put together somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle, but with overlapping as well as interlocking pieces. Portions of an eye, a moustache, and a hand are recognizable in the painting. The oval shape of the canvas itself seems to emphasize the three-dimensional or sculptural qualities of cubism while the subdued brown colors remind the viewer of a dimly lit interior space. Although the cubist movement was short-lived, its influence was strongly felt in the development of twentieth-century painting.
CHILD PLAYING WITH A TOY TRUCK, Pablo Picasso, Dec. 27, 1953 (© 2001 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)
Child Playing with a Toy Truck,1953, 51-1/4” x 38-1/4”, was completed only a few days after Christmas and seems to capture the feeling of wonderment that many young children experience during that season. A sense of energy pervades the painting through the innocent play of a child while an impression of awe is instilled by what appears to be stars or snowflakes falling. Framed by a mostly green background covered with black organic shapes reminiscent of pine branches, the child bends to play with a toy truck. Although the subject of the artwork lacks great detail, it is defined by a black contour line and is easily identified as a child and toy truck. Child Playing with Toy Truck is more figurative than many of Picasso’s earlier works, but it nonetheless maintains elements of the artist’s distinctive abstract style.
THE STUDIO AT ‘LA CALIFORNIE’, Pablo Picasso, March 30, 1956 (© 2001 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)
The Studio at La Californie, 1956, is from a series of paintings that Picasso created in the years 1955-56. The paintings, as the title implies, are of the artist’s studio. In 1955, Picasso purchased a villa in Mougins — a village on a hillside near Cannes on the French Riviera. The villa offered panoramic views of the surrounding hills, valleys, and the Mediterranean Sea. From his vantage point, Picasso painted scenes that showed both interior and exterior views of the studio and its site. The Studio at La Californie, painted during a time of mourning after Matisse’s death, is considered an homage to Matisse and recalls elements of Matisse’s Vence Interiors. Picasso was quoted as saying during this time, “In the end, there is only Matisse.”
WOMAN WITH HAT (MADAME MATISSE), Henri Matisse, 1905 (© 2001 Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)
Woman with Hat, 1905, approximately 31-3/4” x 23-1/2”, is an abstracted portrait of Matisse’s wife. The painting exemplifies the fundamental characteristics of fauvism with its choice of subject (a portrait), energetic paint strokes, and use of unnatural colors. Madame Matisse’s dress, skin, and feathered hat — as well as the background — are all portrayed with unrealistic shades of vivid colors applied with active brushwork. When Woman with Hat was first exhibited, critics gave overwhelmingly unfavorable reviews. Few critics of the time could comprehend why Matisse would chose to paint his wife’s portrait with blotches of unrealistic and garish colors. Today, Woman with Hat is a recognized masterpiece that helped to define fauvism, but more importantly, helped to set the course of modern art.
THE DREAM OF 1940, Henri Matisse, Jan.-Oct. 4, 1940 (© 2001 Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)
The Dream, 1940, approximately 31-7/8” x 25-5/8”, uses characteristics common in many of Matisse’s paintings: a female model depicted with sensual line qualities and rich color. In this painting, a sleeping figure rests her head on her right arm, her body gracefully dividing the picture plane into areas of floating color and overlapping shapes. A rich Venetian red defines the perimeter of the painting, contrasting with the white of the sleeper’s blouse and the ink black of her skirt. The line and color of the painting add to its general decorative effect. The Dream readily compares to Picasso’s Woman with Yellow Hair, painted in 1931.
LARGE RED INTERIOR, Henri Matisse, 1948 (© Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)
Large Red Interior, 1948, approximately 57-1/2” x 38-1/4”, is the last major painting that Matisse attempted. It is included in the series known as the Vence Interiors, a period when Matisse created some of his greatest works of art. In this artwork, Matisse brings to fruition his fascination with color and line. Literally inundated in Venetian red, the objects that populate Large Red Interior seem to be free from the constraints of gravity. The lines that define the objects (and the interior itself) have no visible vanishing points. In what the viewer might see as the near background, Matisse has included a window open to the outside world and a version of his own painting, The Pineapple, painted earlier in 1948.