ⓘ Dance (Matisse)

Dance (Matisse)

ⓘ Dance (Matisse)

Dance is a painting made by Henri Matisse in 1910, at the request of Russian businessman and art collector Sergei Shchukin, who bequeathed the large decorative panel to the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The composition of dancing figures is commonly recognized as "a key point of career and in the development of modern painting". A preliminary version of the work, sketched by Matisse in 1909 as a study for the work, resides at MoMA in New York City, where it has been labeled Dance.

La Danse was first exhibited at the Salon dAutomne of 1910 1 October – 8 November, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysees, Paris.


1. Dance I

In March 1909, Matisse painted a preliminary version of this work, known as Dance I. It was a compositional study and uses paler colors and less detail. The painting was highly regarded by the artist who once called it "the overpowering climax of luminosity"; it is also featured in the background of Matisses Nasturtiums with the Painting "Dance I", 1912.

It was donated by Nelson A. Rockefeller in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


2. Dance

Dance is a large decorative panel, painted with a companion piece, Music, specifically for the Russian businessman and art collector Sergei Shchukin, with whom Matisse had a long association. Until the October Revolution of 1917, this painting hung together with Music on the staircase of Shchukins Moscow mansion.

The painting shows five dancing figures, painted in a strong red, set against a very simplified green landscape and deep blue sky. It reflects Matisses incipient fascination with primitive art, and uses a classic Fauvist color palette: the intense warm colors against the cool blue-green background and the rhythmical succession of dancing nudes convey the feelings of emotional liberation and hedonism. The painting is often associated with the "Dance of the Young Girls" from Igor Stravinskys famous musical work The Rite of Spring. The composition or arrangement of dancing figures is reminiscent of Blakes watercolour "Oberon, Titania and Puck with fairies dancing" from 1786.

Dance is commonly recognized as "a key point of Matisses career and in the development of modern painting". It resides in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It was loaned to Hermitage Amsterdam for a period of six weeks from April 1 to May 9, 2010.