©Henri Matisse - Open Window, Etretat 1920

Henri Matisse - Open Window, Etretat 1920
Open Window, Etretat
1920 72x60cm oil/canvas
Private Collection

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Matisse`s visit to the resort town of Etretat on the Normandy coast in the summer of 1920 resulted in scores of modestly paintings. Of these, three vertical (size 30) canvases stand apart. They are hybrids - part still life, part landscape - arranged in a format typically used for figure painting. Matisse divided the composition of each so that the lower haif features the glistening catch of the day arranged atop a nest of seaweed; the upper section is a distant view of twoof Etretat`s most distinctive rock formations, the Port d`Aval and Aiguille(Needle). These iconic gliffs had been depicted by a succession of nineteenth-century French artists, and Matisse was now presenting himself as an heir to that tradition.