Painter of the Week: Henri Matisse. Today: The Dance (first version), 1909
Henri Matisse. Today: The Dance (first version), 1909, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City
The Dance (La Danse) are two related paintings made by Henri Matisse between 1909 and 1910. The first, preliminary version is Matisse’s study for the second version. The composition or arrangement of dancing figures is reminiscent of Blake’s watercolour “Oberon, Titania and Puck with fairies dancing” from 1786
Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse (31 December 1869 – 3 November 1954) was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he was initially labelled a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.