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Harmony in Red

by Henri Matisse

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Harmony in Red - Description

“Harmony in Red” by Henri Matisse was painted in 1908, at the end of the Fauvist movement. These modern painters emphasized strong color over realistic representation, believing that only bold colors could truly express emotion. In “Harmony in Red,” the viewer is treated to an explosion of bright red, covering well over half of the canvas. The table and walls are decorated with bright swirls of black and red, in organic, repeating patterns that seem to leap from one surface to another. The scene of farmland outside with puffy trees seems tame and domesticated in comparison. One seated figure is present in the painting, sitting on a chair and observing fruit in a bowl. The patterns on the wall and table seem to point to the figure, drawing the viewer’s eye. Small circles of fruit litter the table, but are again painted simply and nonrealistically. This canvas was originally painted in green (called, appropriately, “Harmony in Green”), later repainted in blue (and called “Harmony in Blue”) before Matisse finally rested on a red palette. “Harmony in Red” is a masterly use of color and contrast. The black in the swirled figures is repeated in the figures dress, while the circles of the fruit are repeated as flowers outside. “Harmony in Red” allowed Matisse to perfectly express the Fauvist love of color, right before the movement ceased to be a driving force in the art world.

Painting Details

Artwork Name: Harmony in Red

Original Artist: Salvador Dali
Subject: Landscapes
Style: Fauvism
Medium: 100% Hand-painted on Canvas
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