Henri Matisse The Dance is the artist’s most famous oil painting.
This enormous artwork is 260 x 391cm (102.4 x 153.9"). Painted by Matisse in 1910, it marks a high point of the artist's career and a defining moment in modern art.
Speaking to an interviewer in 1909, Matisse said, “What I dream of… is an art of balance, purity, and serenity”. The same year he began work on The Dance.
In his Dance painting, Matisse aimed to represent a state of complete artistic and creative immersion. The rhythmic succession of nude dancing figures communicates feelings of emotional liberation, lightness, and aesthetic hedonism.
This Matisse artwork is known as “whirl in ecstasy” and is one of the most joyous paintings in the entirety of art history.
Despite this, commentators identify tension inherent within the piece. Gravity belies Matisse’s intended lightness. The figure closest to the viewer has lost its grasp of its companion.
This break threatens a violent stop to the inevitable orbit of grace and motion. The nearing disaster expresses the truth that life and joy are only meaningful about their opposites.
According to artistic inspiration, the composition is reminiscent of William Blake's Oberon, Titania, and Puck with Fairies Dancing (1786). It’s unclear whether Matisse directly borrowed from the artwork, however.
Matisse’s dancers originally appeared as a small detail in the background of another of his artworks, The Joy of Life (1905).
Among Henri Matisse's famous paintings, The Dance particularly stands out. It demonstrates Henri Matisse’s involvement with Fauvism, a new artistic style that particularly fascinated the artist.
The painting shows five people dancing in the air, their faces filled with joy. All five figures are red, green, and blue, with a classic color palette that strongly echoes the Fauves paintings.
Directly translating as “the wild beasts,” the Fauvist movement emphasized painterly emotion and vivid color and is in direct contrast to the representational realism prized by the Impressionist movement championed by Claude Monet.
The Fauvist style began around 1904 and continued until the early 1910s. Led by André Derain and Henri Matisse, fauvism paintings characterize bold brushwork and simplistic compositions.
As an extreme progression of Van Gogh and Paul Gaugin’s Post-Impressionist approach, Fauvism also took inspiration from Expressionist painters such as Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc.
Commissioned at the behest of Russian businessman and art collector Sergei Shchukin, The Dance currently hangs in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
It remained in Shchukin’s home until the Russian October Revolution of 1917.
Shchukin was an avid art collector with a particular fondness for French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters. He enjoyed a long working relationship with Matisse, explaining this special commission.
The Dance by Matisse is just one of our famous dance paintings.
Matisse wall art forms an integral part of our online catalog of reproduction oil paintings.
We offer a 100% money back guarantee or replacement service. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your painting please contact us within 7 days of receipt, advising the reason you are unhappy and we will provide you with all the information you need for its return or replacement.
We ship free to anywhere in the world via FedEx or DHL expedited service with online tracking.
Your painting will be shipped rolled in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and/or framing locally. This is the conventional method of transporting hand-painted oil on canvas. Learn more about how your painting is shipped.
We are able to offer a framing service intercontinental U.S. Please contact us if you would like a quotation. Alternatively, should you prefer, we can recommend a framer in your area.
Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.