Collection 1880s–1940s

Henri Matisse. The Blue Window. Issy-les-Moulineaux, summer 1913 567

Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 x 35 5/8" (130.8 x 90.5 cm). Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund. © 2023 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. 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.

Director, Glenn Lowry: Matisse reworked this canvas several times, Michael Duffy, Painting Conservator at The Museum of Modern Art:

Conservator, Michael Duffy: Looking at X-rays and also infrared examination shows us some of the changes in the composition. You can see these, in particular, in the upper right, in the foliage of the trees, where there were additional branches and leaf shapes that he painted out.

Other elements were shifted around, you can see in particular some interesting paint techniques in the cloud form, in the upper center. What happened was he scraped down various layers of paint, revealing pink and blue underneath, and also some green, resulting in this kind of opalescent color. Also you can see around some of the shapes some incised lines, where he took the end of a brush, or a sharp instrument and actually carved into the paint. This is also a very typical technique from this time period.

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