Picasso Bust of Man
Pablo Picasso, Buste d’homme L’Athlète, 1909, oil on canvas, 91 x 73.5 cm, Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis, Chateaubriand, © Succession Picasso / Copyright Agency

1. Pablo PICASSO Bust of a man (The athlete) [Buste d’homme (L’Athlète)] 1909

oil on canvas; 91 x 73.5 cm, SAO PAULO MUSEUM OF ART

Both Picasso and Matisse were inspired by the work of Paul Cézanne. For Picasso, this manifested itself in his development of Cubism, where he broke up an image into a series of geometric forms, usually in a monochrome palette. Matisse was derisive of Picasso’s approach.

Matisse Still life with oranges
Henri Matisse, Nature morte aux oranges, 1912, oil on canvas, 94 x 83 cm, Musée Picasso, Paris, © Succession H Matisse/Copyright Agency, Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Mathieu Rabeau

2. Henri MATISSE Still life with oranges [Nature mortre aux oranges] 1912

oil on canvas; 94 x 85 cm, MUSÉE PICASSO, PARIS

The impact of Cézanne on Matisse is demonstrated in complex interior views, combining several of the other artist’s distinguishing motifs: the tilting table top, bowl of fruit, the inclusion of patterning an obscure space.

Picasso Woman
Pablo Picasso, Femme assise au bord de la mer, 1922, oil on canvas, 58.4 x 48.3 cm, Bequest of Putnam Dana McMillan, Minneapolis Institute of Art, © Succession Picasso / Copyright Agency

3. Pablo PICASSO Woman by the sea [Femme assise au bord de la mer] 1922

oil on canvas; 58.4 x 48.3 cm, MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ART

After the First World War both artists were drawn to classical images and stories. In this work, Picasso depicted a monumental figure whose facial features mimic the sculptures of Hera that the artist saw in Naples. Adopting the chiaroscuro method of shading, the fabric, face, arms and feet are rounded in dark shadows.

Matisse Woman by window
Henri Matisse, Femme par une fenêtre, c 1920-22, oil on canvas, 55.6 x 46.4 cm, Gift of Ferdinand Howald, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, © Succession H Matisse / Copyright Agency

4. Henri MATISSE Woman by a window [Femme par une fenêtre] c1920–22

oil on canvas; 55.6 x 46.4 cm, COLUMBUS MUSEUM OF ART

One of Matisse’s favourite pictorial devices was the inclusion of a window in the background of his compositions. It appeared in his art throughout his career. After moving to Nice in 1918, he was inspired by the southern light and painted a series of light-filled hotel rooms facing the sea. When Picasso paid homage to Matisse after his death, he used this distinctive device in his own paintings.

Picasso Woman reading
Pablo Picasso, La Lecture, 1932, oil on canvas, 130 x 97.5 cm, Musée Picasso, Paris, © Succession Picasso / Copyright Agency, Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Mathieu Rabeau

5. Pablo PICASSO Reading [La lecture] 1932

oil on canvas; 130 x 97.5 cm, MUSÉE PICASSO, PARIS

Images of women dominate the work of both artists and they each favoured specific women and different times in their careers. Here Picasso has used his mistress and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter as his subject using his familiar cubist forms.

Henri Matisse, Odalisque assis, 1926, oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm, Gift of Adele R Levy Fund Inc, 1962, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, © Succession H Matisse / Copyright Agency

6. Henri MATISSE Seated odalisque [Odalisque assis] 1926

oil on canvas; 73 x 60 cm, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK

Matisse’s drew on his personal collection of North African decorative arts to assemble exotic compositions, particularly his favourite models dressed as odalisques. Here he uses an appliquéd wall hanging as a backdrop for model Henriette Darricarrère dressed in Moroccan pantaloons and a sheer blouse.


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