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Lorette in a Red Jacket
Henri Matisse (French, 1869 - 1954)
1917. Oil on canvas, 18 1/4 x 14 1/4". 1931.065
In 1891 Henri Matisse abandoned a legal career to pursue painting. During his long and illustrious career, Matisse was influenced by emerging art movements, and he, in turn, influenced others. By 1905 he was a recognized master and, along with Pablo Picasso, became an icon of Modern art. Matisse was the leading artist of a group of French painters who were interested in decorative arrangements of colors, lines, and shapes. For them, a painting is its own complete world of patterns, relation- ships, and contrasts. In this painting, the artist explores many subtle relationships: the dark shapes of Lorette’s hair, eyes, and jaw echo the buttons and patterns on her robe. These dark shapes contrast sharply with the warm yellows and reds of the robe, a color scheme that is picked up in the chair back to provide a rectangular counterpoint in the composition.