Meanwhile, the only objects allowed full color or modelling come across as conceptually flat by virtue of their being in themselves flat—that is the circular plate in the foreground and the paintings Fax Lists hung on the wall or stacked against it." -- Daniel Wheeler, Art Since Mid-Century, p16. An Autobiographical Painting Famous paintings Matisse "The Red Studio" by Henri Matisse. Painted in 1911. Size: 71" x 7' 2" (approx. 180 x 220 cm). Fax Lists Oil on Canvas. In the collection of Moma, New York. Photo © Liane Used with Permission The elements in Red StudioFax Lists invite you into Matisse’s world. To me the "empty" bit in the foreground reads as floor space, where I’d step to be amongst the things in the studio. The elements form a kind of nest in which the creative process takes place.
The paintings depicted are all by him, as are the sculptures (1&2). Notice the box Fax Lists of pencils or charcoal (3) on the table, and his easel (4). Though why doesn't the clock have hands (5)? Is Matisse Fax Lists describing the creative process? The table acts as a container for the ideas of food and drink, nature, and artist's materials; the essence of an artist's life. There's representation of different subjects: portraits, still life, landscape. A window for illumination. The passage of time is denoted both by the clock and the framed/unframed (unfinished?) paintings.Fax Lists A comparison is made to the three dimensionality of the world with sculptures and a vase.
Finally there is contemplation, a chair positioned to view the art. Red Studio wasn't Fax Lists initially red. Instead it "was originally a blue-grey interior, corresponding more closely to the white of Matisse’s studio Fax Lists as it actually was. This quite powerful blue-grey can still be seen even with the naked eye around the top of the clockFax Lists and under the thinner paint on the left-hand side. What forced Matisse to transform his studio with this dazzling red has been debated: it has even been suggested that it was stimulated in the most perceptual of ways by the after-image of greens from the garden on a hot day." -- John Gage.