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Still Life on a Table

Henri Matisse, French, 1869 - 1954

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

31 3/4 x 39 1/4 inches (80.6 x 99.7 cm) Framed: 40 1/2 x 48 x 4 1/4 inches (102.9 x 121.9 x 10.8 cm)

© Succession H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 267, Modern and Contemporary Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Henry P. McIlhenny, 1964

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Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    As a student, Henri Matisse began his lifelong interest in still-life painting by making copies of masterpieces in the Louvre, including Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin's The Ray (c. 1725-26) as well as works by the seventeenth-century Dutch masters. The mature painting Still Life on a Table, in comparison, was completed in Nice, the Mediterranean resort town where he resided beginning in 1917. After living and working within several different rooms at the Hôtel Beau Rivage and the Hôtel Méditerranée et de la Côte d'Azur, Matisse rented an apartment in 1921 within the eighteenth-century building at 1, place Charles-Félix, where this work was subsequently conceived. One of several large, horizontally oriented still lifes created during the years 1924 and 1925, Still Life on a Table was composed using thin layers of oil paint (perhaps diluted with turpentine), with the exception of the pink tissue in the basket at the right, which is rendered in a rich impasto. In organizing this still life, Matisse made use of several of his favorite motifs: lemons with their lush green leaves, plums, a pineapple, and a vase of anemones. A decorative screen, another reoccurring theme, draws the viewer's attention through this spacious composition, revealing two images hanging on the rear wall, one resembling Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's famous lithograph of 1893, Aristide Bruant in His Cabaret. Melissa Kerr, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 140.

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