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Katherine Rothkopf is Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Katherine Rothkopf [Indiscernible][0:00:09] with fish is a painting that Matisse made in 1920, when he and the family were in Étretat on the Normandy coast. And they were there actually because his daughter Marguerite, his eldest daughter, who was a wonderful person and someone he was absolutely devoted to, she had had a long history of ill health. She had a tracheotomy as a young girl and it never fully resolved itself and so in 1920, she had been ill for a long time and they finally had a very successful surgery. And so the family went to Étretat to recuperate, to be in the fresh air. And luckily the surgery was a success and she went on to have a very happy and healthy life after this point. But Matisse of course needs to still paint, while he was there with the family. So it’s interesting, like it’s a big landscape, yet it’s a still life all at once, which is an unusual combination. I mean usually when you have still life in an interior, you have a landscape in figure, but to have this sort of offering of you know the bounty of Étretat is basically what this is. It’s a very odd combination, but so beautifully painted, particularly the beach scene with these lovely colors and then he had a very hard dark, I guess it’s the wet beach and with the fish on top. It is an object’s position, but so beautiful and so transient in nature, like all still lives are, it’s a little bit of impressionism. He is looking back to those sort of fleeting effects of light and atmosphere, he has chosen a more gray day, which gives everything a kind of steely feel to it, which I really think is interesting and quite beautiful in its own way.
To copy objects in a still life is nothing. One must render the emotion, the awakening.
Male Speaker 1
Select the green button to learn about Matisse’s friendship with French Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Collector Etta Cone was concerned about the fate of the fish in this painting, press the red button to hear more. To hear from Matisse in his own words about painting landscapes, choose the yellow button.