The wonderful Femme au chapeau
By Roger Childs
Henri Matisse is one of the greatest artists of all time. Those who qualify in this exclusive grouping have
~ taken an established style such as representational art, abstract, impressionist, expresssionist to new levels eg Raphael, Durer and Michelangelo
~ created a new style or movement eg Cezanne, Picasso and Mondrian
~ achieved mastery of a range of styles like Dix and Dali.
Some fit into two categories and many have been sculptors as well as painters, and have experimented creatively with a range of materials.
Matisse, was the key figure in developing what became known as the Fauvist movement. One the best known fauvist works is Women with a Hat (Femme au chapeau) was first exhibited at the 1905 Salon d’Automne in Paris. The conservative French art establishment was horrified at the bright, unnatural colours used to depict conventional subjects. An art critic called the perpetrators fauves – “wild beasts”.
Back in April we were lucky enough to see Femme au chapeau at MOMA in San Francisco. After seeing it in many books, it was very emotional viewing the real thing. A priceless experience.