Open Window was painted by Henri Matisse, a French artist who worked during the early 20th century. He was well known for being apart of the fauve school, a group of artists who were revolutionary in their use of bold colours and broad brushstrokes.
Matisse's belief was that colour should be used for its expressive qualities. He believed that when certain colours are put together, they react to portray an emotion. Therefore, his paintings often feature bold and contradicting colour combinations.
Open Window is a prime example of his belief. The direction of light in this painting shines through to the right side of the room. Matisse’s placement of emerald green creates shadow from the lack of light on that side of the room. The red window frame is strategically placed next to the emerald green to emphasise the depth of its shadow and draw attention to the other lighter parts of the room. The shades of green leaves surrounding the window compliment the orange boat masts that create a sense of movement, like a small breeze that sweeps through the scene. The unity of the colours on the canvas create a light-filled scene that is vibrant and inviting.
Matisse harnessed the true power of colour by using it as a tool to express his creative vision. Just like many other creatives in fashion and design who express their artistic intention through the use colour, they construct products that are captivating and emotive. The harmony of living colours presented by these creatives bring light into every aspect of our lives. They give us choices on how we want to portray ourselves to the world.
This small but energetic work is celebrated as one of the most important works in art history as it reminds us the power of colour, how it plays a big role in the way we express ourselves and how we understand the world around us.
Photo courtesy: Open Window, Henri Matisse, Oil on canvas, 55cm x 46cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C
Information cited from: https://www.nga.gov/collection/highlights/matisse-open-window-collioure.html