Art History

Surprising Matisse Landscapes

Henri Matisse is known as the father of Modernism and one of the founders of Fauvism. He is an iconic figure among modern art collectors, known for his use of bold colors and decorative patterns. He did create some landscapes during his career that diverge from that and offer a more neutral color palette. Here are some of our favorite Matisse paintings that are not what people expect form the artist.

Henri Matisse-Four Boats Side by Side in the Marseilles Harbor

Four Boats Side by Side in the Marseilles Harbor by Henri Matisse depicts a scene that is perfectly described in the title. Matisse uses varying shades of blue, black, grey and white to depict a early afternoon. The brown of the boats masts are a stark contrast and brings in more architecture to the scene of the Marina.

Henri Matisse-Savory Alps

Henri Matisse capture the crisp, cool feeling of the French Alps in the Savory Alps.  While using a somber toned color palette, he is still able to use his Fauvist techniques to give us a unique perspective of the landmark. The use of those subtle blues and greys enhance the overall feeling of the peaceful view and make it seem tranquil.

Henri Matisse-Moulin

Moulin, meaning windmill in French, was painted by Henri Matisse while in the Bretagne region of France. He was the first artist to separate color from shape, fully and he is known as one of the founding fathers of what is known as modernism or modern art. Although Matisse is known for his bright colors and flat, two-dimensional shapes, the muted tones in this piece accentuate the mood in the landscape.

Henri Matisse-Belle lle (Le Port De Palais)

Belle Lle (Le Port De Palais) is a vastly different piece than what we usually expect form Henri Matisse. This water-based landscape depicts men sitting upon a boat and steering into the vast seaside. The sparse use of vivid colors against a muted background, portrays happiness but also shows that life can be more than one shade of color.

Henri Matisse-White Clouds, the Old Port of Marseille

Henri Matisse’s White Clouds, the Old Port of Marseille is a far cry from the vibrant and surreal works that the artist is famous for but still as wonderful. Marseille, the oldest city in France, stands suspended in time by the same brushstrokes that gave Matisse his recognizable style. As full, white clouds overwhelm the midday sky and boats dock forever at their ports, an eternal peace is evoked from this impressionist work.

If this has only made you more excited for work by this artist, feel free to browse our Matisse Gallery. It is full of both the well-known modern pieces and these more unexpected gems. You will have no problem finding something to fit in any room of the house. Bring a little modern art into your home!


About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.