1909/13/16Henri Matisse

Oil on canvas, 1909, 1913, and 1916; 259.7 x 389.9 cm
Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection, 1953.158
In the monumental Bathers by a River,French artist Henri Matisse chose a traditional subject, the nude in a natural setting, and reinterpreted it in a totally contemporary way. The figures have been radically simplified, their forms defined in heavy, bold outlines; the background and river have become a series of vertical bands, the foliage a patterned field of arclike shapes. The flattened space and muted colors indicate Matisse's awareness of Cubism, while the curved, sensuous lines and strong color contrasts reveal his highly personal, expressive vision.

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