Maison Matisse's Journal

Maison Matisse’s
Journal

 

La blouse roumaine

Pieces of fabric, rugs, clothes: Henri Matisse
moved decorated textiles between studios for a long time.
La Blouse Roumaine,an oil on canvas finished in April 1940, encapsulates his obsession.

 

Henri Matisse's painting La blouse roumaine

Henri Matisse, La Blouse roumaine (1940).
Centre Pompidou - Musée national d'art moderne - Centre de création industrielle
© Succession H. Matisse. Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist.
RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Henri Matisse began his research in 1936 and imagined several variations on the theme of Slavic costume. But it wasn't until October 1939 that he set out on the path that would lead to the final piece. Preparatory work heavily documented by a series of photos detailing the different stages of making the piece.

Eleven shots that give us better insight into his process: the simplification of shapes, lines and colors by cutting out. The aim: present the basic esthetic synthesis of his subject. By reducing the strokes of the model to their simplest expression, Matisse makes pure curves the focus of attention while striving for the perfect balance between the cut of the blouse and the geometric layout of his patterns.

The result was a crucial piece that inspired other major creators.

Yves Saint-Laurent paid tribute to La Blouse Roumaine by exploring the garment for one of his collections in 1981. Two years later, Eric Rohmer used the painting on his film poster for Pauline at the Beach. The famous silhouette now lends its curves to the limited-edition vases made for Maison Matisse by Alessandro Mendini to celebrate the painter's 150th birthday.