#10 FloraPortfolio

01 Matisse

Matisse, the nature
  of patterns

When you think of Matisse, you think of a breathtaking wealth of patterns and colourful extravagance. His love for flowers and plants betrays a longing for a surrealistic positive symbiosis. A perfect dream world in which you can lose yourself. “There are always flowers for those who want to see them_______.”

02 Matisse
04 Matisse
03 Matisse
05 Matisse

About Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954) was a French painter, colourist and sculptor. He is considered to be the founder of fauvism, a style with brightly contrasting, cheerful and unusual contemporary colours which are apparently randomly placed together without any transition, whereby the hard confrontations are untempered and no account is taken of perspective.

05 Matisse
06 Matisse
07 Matisse
08 Matisse
09 Matisse
10 Matisse
11 Matisse
12 Matisse
12 Matisse
13 Matisse
14 Matisse
15 Matisse


'Featuring' calendula, Lions mouth, Anethum, gerberas and many more flowers in his floral masterpieces. Flowers were both his subject and his encouragement to paint.

Rosanne Loffeld

The ‘master of colour’ Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954) was fiercely criticised during his lifetime. Work that now so greatly inspires many people was subjected to withering critique at the time. “He is a barbarian who was accidentally given paints, a child that has been allowed to mess around with a painter’s palette to his heart’s content.” Or: “My little sister can do that ...”

How different from our current zeitgeist, in which Matisse’s approach is perhaps the greatest source of inspiration fashion and lifestyle. The creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, is clearly inspired by him. For the launch of the new Gucci Home Decor range he organised a big campaign in the style of Matisse illustrated by young talent Alex Merry, who used the same floral wealth of patterns and colourful extravagance.

Floral symbiosis

We feel the urged to lose ourselves in Matisse’s surrealistic, positive symbiosis. His specific eye for flowers, for the texture of materials and patterns and colours makes the work unforgettably inspiring. Always with fresh flowers on the table in the most fantastical decorated vases The dreamworld that you would like to lay over reality like an Instagram filter.

Matisse started his career with his mother’s paintbox when he had appendicitis. After this Matisse abandoned his law course - to his parents’ horror - to study at the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris. His colleague Cézanne played an important role in shaping Matisse’s preference for the decorative. “A great artist is able to use his insight without succumbing to the fatal pressure of prevalent style influences.” That’s how Matisse referred to Cézanne’s interpretation of decoration.

Unfolding flower

In The Manila Shawl (1911), where flowers emphasise the woman’s breasts and pubic area, this decoration creates an explicit sexual undertone. In other paintings the flower patterns represent a more general feeling of the woman’s blooming vitality. Photos taken during the creation of the Romanian Blouse show clearly how Matisse converted metaphors into paint. At one point he paints elegant flowers on the wall on the left behind the woman, who was wearing an unadorned blouse. As the painting develops further, these flowers are moved from the wall back to her blouse. Finally he modifies the shape of her body such that she gives the suggestion of being an unfolding flower herself.

Lightfooted spring

“There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.” Matisse wants to convert both the flower and intense floral decoration into an abstract meditation: a higher dimension of space and time. His drawings show that he could record a portrait on paper with a single line. The pen or pencil apparently took over. However, in reality he worked until he had achieved the ‘art of balance, purity and peace’ of which he dreamed. “I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime. My line drawings are the purest and most direct reflection of my emotions_______.”

Rosanne Loffeld