Nasturtiumswith the Painting &quotDance&quot, 1912, Metropolitan

Oilon canvas, 75 1/2 x 45 3/8 in (191.8 x 115.3 cm)

Donor:Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982

TheMetropolitan Museum of Art




Sale:Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin, November 1913

Sale:Oskar and Margarete Moll, Berlin, Paris, and Breslau, 1920

Sale:Scofield Thayer, New York, May 1923 for $2,000

Atthe Massachusetts Worcester Art Museum, as part of the DialCollection, 1931–82.


HenriMatisse always had a tendency of incorporating his previous works inhis compositions, that device of including his previous artworks issomething Matisse repeated most of the time. The painting includes aglimpse of the previous artwork, ‘Dance I’ (Museum of Modern Art,New York) which he did on a huge canvas and was actually in thestudio during the time he was making this painting. Matisse paintworks convey to his audience in a colorful style. In the early 20thcentury, Henri Matisse embraced Fauvism- whose works emphasized moreon strong colors than realistic values. The Fauvism artists neverorganized their work formally they put more focus in the personalconnection of the figures in the paintings. Henri believed that colorshould play a key role in relaying his thoughts to the observers.1

  1. Fred Kleiner, “Gardner’s Art through the Ages” The Western Perspective, Volume 2 (2010).

Askedwhy he painted the piece, Matisse mentioned in writing that he wasmoved by color. Indeed, the painting is bright and luminous, thisenlivens the painting and gives a suggestion of the artist’s zestfor his life. His brushwork is broad and impulsive he leavesunpainted regions on the canvas to define the form.

Asa member of the Fauvism movement, the arrangement of elements is notfocused on so much. The main elements in the painting are a chair, atripod table with a vase holding flowers, and a large painted canvas.The vase of nasturtiums is the most prominent motif in thecomposition it’s the only element that is represented in itswholeness. However, one leg of the tripod table has been surprisinglyforeshortened to look as if it’s standing on the grass in “DanceI” painting, this creates a feeling of integration within thecomposition. Matisse inclusion of a landscape in his artworkdepicting a studio interior generates an intriguing uncertainty bybringing the outdoors into the studio setting. Matisse arranges thefurniture at the forefront to make it seem as if it appears to be ona flat surface. Space in the room appears flattened, and objects inthe room lack the sense of three-dimensionality. The ‘Dance I’painting and the back gives some sense of depth due to thearrangement of the dancing figures.

HereMatisse uses a combination of neutral and primary colors show hisstudio and “Dance I” onto the large canvas. The nude dancingfigures are positioned along the green colored frame this creates asense of partial depth into the painting.


London.Grafton Galleries. &quotSecond Post-Impressionist Exhibition,&quotOctober 5–December 31, 1912.

WorcesterArt Museum. &quotExhibition of the Dial Collection of Drawings,Engravings and Paintings by Contemporary Artists,&quot March, 1924.

Museumof Modern Art, New York. &quotHenri Matisse: RetrospectiveExhibition,&quot November 3–December 6, 1931.

NewYork MoMA. &quotHenri Matisse,&quot November 13, 1951–January 13,1952.

TheMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York. &quotMatisse: In Search ofTrue Painting,&quot 2012-13.


HenriMatisse: Nasturtiums with the Painting “Dance” I. AccessedNovember 7, 2015.

HenriMatisse: Nasturtiums with the Painting “Dance” I. In HeilbrunnTimeline of Art History, NewYork: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000.

Galitz,Kathryn Calley, and N.Y. York. Masterpiecesof European Painting in Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1800-1920.New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2007.