Maison Matisse's Journal

Maison Matisse’s
Journal

 

Interior with an Etruscan Vase


Interior with an Etruscan Vase was painted during the first few months of the Second World War, unveiled in 1940 and is a Matisse painting like no other.

 

Interior with an Etruscan Vase painting by Matisse

L'intérieur au vase étrusque (article du journal)
Henri Matisse, Intérieur au vase étrusque (1940). The Cleveland Muséum of Art.
© Succession H. Matisse.

The darker than usual colors alone seem to capture the mood of the time it was painted. Nevertheless, the darkness is softened by bright contrasts in the model's tricolor jacket. Blue, white and red: three colors that instantly bring to mind the French flag and the artist's patriotism, particularly powerful during these troubled times. This oil on canvas exhibited at the Cleveland Museum of Art portrays this state of mind in a fresh way: in lots of ways, from the costume to the painted curtain on the left, the piece is a "late odalisque" that refers directly to the paintings of women by Matisse from 1921 to 1928.

However, because she's seated and looks straight at her audience, this odalisque differs from her forebears' reclining position and diverted eyes.

Is this an allegory for active and resistant France? Or a depiction of the painter's conscience, a symbol of his own country? One thing's for sure: the canvas shows the artist's passion for objects be it the two-tone oak table or famous Etruscan vase which inspired the designer Jaime Hayon to make limited-edition pieces for Henri Matisse's 150th birthday.