Henri Matisse Gourds Issy-les-Moulineaux, 1915-16 (dated on painting 1916)

  • Not on view

Describing Gourds in 1945, Matisse recalled that he had created "a composition of objects that do not touch—but nonetheless participate in the same intimacy." Its surface reveals that he achieved this effect after repeatedly adjusting and transposing forms. The austerity and monumentality of the canvas are complementary to The Moroccans, also of 1916. These qualities may have helped Matisse develop the luminous aspects of the larger canvas. In Gourds, he explained, he began "to use pure black as a color of light and not as a color of darkness."

Gallery label from Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917, July 18–October 11, 2010.
Oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 31 7/8" (65.1 x 80.9 cm)
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund
Object number
© 2024 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Painting and Sculpture

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Provenance Research Project

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Henri Matisse, Paris
1917 Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (purchased from the artist)
1917 Léonce Rosenberg, Paris (purchased from Bernheim-Jeune)
Paul Guillaume, Paris (as of 1926)
Léonide Massine, New York (as of 1931)
1935 Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, New York (purchased from Léonide Massine through Marie Harriman Gallery, New York)
1935 The Museum of Modern Art, New York (acquired as gift from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller)
1947 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (acquired from The Museum of Modern Art)
1952 The Museum of Modern Art, New York (repurchased from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

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