Matisse: The Red Studio

Henri Matisse. *The Blue Window*. 1913. Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 × 35 5/8ʺ (130.8 × 90.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund. © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri Matisse. The Blue Window. 1913 354

Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 × 35 5/8ʺ (130.8 × 90.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund. © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curator, Ann Temkin: The Blue Window is painted from the bedroom of Henri and Amélie Matisse. And what you see in the distance is the rooftop of the studio. This is actually the only painting in Matisse's career in which he portrayed the exterior of the studio building that's in The Red Studio.

The foreground is the dressing table of Madame Matisse.

Writer, Claire Messud: We have a very pretty green bud vase in which there are a spray of flowers, and then there's what I imagine is a sculpture to the right of that. And in the front is a dish with a brooch.

This is a thing I felt so much looking at the objects in a number of his paintings is they were everyday objects, the little things that make up a life, but each one has its story, where it came from, who gave it to you, what it means to you.

Ann Temkin: It's a very intimate picture on the one hand and yet one that is so expansive in that this blue takes over, not only the interior, but the exterior, the trees, as well as the sky.

Claire Messud: There's this harmony between the indoors and the outdoors, the harmony between what's on the dresser and these sort of festive, dreamlike trees that look like balloons, and the moon that looks like a stone or a spaceship. What's outside the window is not separate from life. They're in this beautiful relationship to one another.

Ann Temkin: In all of the studio paintings in the exhibition there are windows, there are paintings. Are the windows paintings? Are the paintings windows? And you realize how much this back and forth between life and art mattered to Matisse's work.

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