From Fondation Beyeler, Switzerland:
Interior with black fern is one of the last pictures that Matisse painted prior to turning his attention almost exclusively to papiers découpés. Here he has arrived at a harmony of figure, objects, interior and exterior space. Various zones of colour are juxtaposed: the red wallpaper with its regular geometric pattern, the yellow carpet dotted with black, the green disc of the table bearing a vase that is also patterned with dots, and the black providing the ground for the artist’s signature. The woman on the left has no individuality; the white of her dress and the pink of her skin play a crucial role in the picture’s composition. The link between the exterior glimpsed above right, where we can make out a tree, and the interior is provided by the fern, which is seen against the light and consequently appears black. This work underlines a distinctive characteristic of Matisse’s painting: his pictures possess a rhythm that arises not just out of the movement of his painting hand but also from the relationship between the parts of the picture, which seems to obey laws similar to a musical structure.