Chapel of Saint Joseph, Saint-Tropez

Henri Matisse French

Not on view

Saint-Tropez was still a small fishing town when Matisse stayed there with his wife and four-year-old son from mid-July through mid-October 1904. There, he painted the plain facade of the seventeenth-century chapel of Saint Joseph against the intense blue Mediterranean sky. The shadowy area in the foreground, however, which appears to represent a low enclosure, is painted with less resolved strokes of paint that continue up the right edge of the canvas and into the foliage at the upper right corner. The painting’s delicate palette and contrasts of light and dark, finished and spontaneously executed non finito passages, reflect Matisse’s aim to merge the immediacy of inspiration he derived from plein-air painting with his vision of an art of "balance, of purity and serenity." The work remained with Matisse’s heirs until 2002.

Chapel of Saint Joseph, Saint-Tropez, Henri Matisse (French, Le Cateau-Cambrésis 1869–1954 Nice), Oil on canvas

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