Matisse was exhausted by the project itself, but was immensely content with the outcome and continued to revisit the theme. In this act of self-appropriation, Matisse re-contextualizes his own oeuvre. Displaying a modernity ahead of his time, it is widely recognized that Matisse’s dancers were initially inspired by the swirling Shakespearean fairies in British Romantic artist William Blake’s watercolor Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing (see fig. 1). While Matisse’s use of color and championing of the collage method have placed him in the forefront of the art historical canon, it is perhaps this motif which has proved his most lasting and quintessentially recognizable contribution, informing the work of countless contemporary artists (see fig. 2).
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