Arts Everyday Living: Matisse and the Rhythm of Life—The Purity of Drawing

Click on the drawings to ENLARGE them.




My line drawing is the purest and most direct translation of my emotion.

Henri Matisse


It’s the second Monday of our Creative Art Journey multi-arts series in Arlington, Virginia (see: October 21 blog) and we’ll be presenting Matisse and the Rhythm of Life.  I’ll be starting with an overview of the 20th century French master’s works of art, focusing on the energy and flow of Matisse’s use of line—sometimes detailed and complex, other times, reduced to a few essentials— especially evident in his drawings. So why not join us, via the internet, in the mini-exhibit of portraits of women (a favorite and reoccurring subject of the artist throughout his decades long career) below along with some of his creative quotes.


I depend entirely on my model, whom I observe at liberty, and then I decide on the pose which best suits HER NATURE.






One must always search for the desire of the line, where it wishes to enter or where to die away.  Also, always be sure of its source; this must be done from the model.


Matisse Woman Grenoble


The human face has always greatly interested me.  I have indeed a rather remarkable memory for faces, even for those that I have seen only once.  In looking at them I do not perform any psychological interpretation, but I am struck by their individual and profound expression.


Matisse Sarah Stein




Matisse poem woman


A drawing must have an expansive force which gives life to the things around it.


1. Henri Matisse, The Plumed Hat, 1919, pencil on paper, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan

2. Henri Matisse, Theme and Variations, 1941, black crayon on paper, Musee de Grenoble, France

3. Henri Matisse, Study for Portrait of Sarah Stein, 1916, charcoal on paper, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California

4. Henri Matisse, Poesies de Stephane Mallarme, La chevelure, 1931-1932, etching, Museum of Modern Art, NY

Quotes of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) are from Matisse on Art by Jack D. Flam, E.P. Dutton, New York, 1978.

The above images are used solely for educational purposes.

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