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Open Window, Collioure by Henri Matisse Open Window, Collioure detail by Henri Matisse
 
Open Window, Collioure detail by Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse, Open Window, Collioure, 1905, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney 1998.74.7
 

 

To maximize the intensity of his colors—and achieve the light he was looking for—Matisse organized his picture with pairs of complements. Orange masts rise from blue hulls. Potted plants on the balcony sprout red blossoms amid green foliage. Reflections oppose pink and turquoise, and in the walls these colors are reversed and deepened. Isolated by bare areas of canvas, these combinations generate a sort of visual vibration.

Because in composing Open Window Matisse largely used red, blue, and greens—in different forms—he enhanced the effect of light. These are the additive primaries—the wavelengths of orange-red, blue-violet, and green that combine to make white light.



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