- Henri Matisse
- Nature morte, Fougères et grenades
- Signed H. Matisse and dated 47 (lower left)
- Brush and ink on paper
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
Private Collection, Connecticut
Laurie Rubin Fine Art, New York
Acquired from the above in 2005
Between 1946 and 1948, Matisse concentrated on brush and ink drawings, a medium he had not used between his Fauve period and the early 1940s. The present work exemplifies a new level of intensity that Matisse reached in his exploration of black and white. Matisse himself spoke of "the special quality of brush drawing, which, though a restricted medium, has all the qualities of a painting or mural. It is always color that is put into play, even when the drawing consists of merely one continuous stroke. Black brush drawings contain, in small, the same elements as colored paintings... that is to say, differentations in the quality of the surfaces unified by light" (Henri Matisse, Henri Matisse: oeuvres récentes, 1947-48 (exhibition catalogue), Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1949, p. 21). Matisse's broadly-rendered black and white lines instantly capture both the viewer's eye and the artist's deeper conception of the space as a whole.
Nature morte, fougères et grenades reflects Matisse's vibrant large-scale paintings of still lifes during this time, as Alfred H. Barr, Jr. writes, "The drawings of 1947-48 are not only closely related to paintings of the period in motif but rival them in scale and power" (Albert Barr, Matisse: His Art and His Public, New York, 1951, p. 276). Matisse's thick curves and quick strokes of simple black line manifest the most basic forms of a vase with flowers and fruit on a table, yet the dynamic gestures of the brush breathe life into the objects such that they appear to be expanding beyond the frame itself.