Into the Twentieth Century: Toulouse-Lautrec to Matisse

The early years of the 20th century saw a range of new artistic directions in France. The period witnessed the emergence of abstraction but also the continuing presence of established genres that now came to be invested with new life. From the 1890s, Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard focused on domestic interiors with the latter focusing for much of his career on the representation of his wife and home in the south of France. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Henri Matisse explored the continuing possibilities for the genre of portraiture, concentrating in particular on images of women.

The works in the Bloch Collection from these years focus on the great colorists of the age. Bonnard’s carefully observed The White Cupboard, the largest work in the collection, displays this artist’s links to Impressionism in terms of his domestic subject matter as well as rich color and broken brushwork. Henri Matisse’s Woman Seated before a Black Background is a luminous portrait, painted in 1942 in the midst of wartime and personal illness, but emphasizing the artist’s continued ability to find a sense of hope in this time of darkness.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French, 1864 - 1901
General Séré de Rivières (Le Général Séré de Rivières), 1881-1882

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French, 1864 - 1901
Jane Avril Looking at a Proof (Jane Avril regardant une épreuve), 1893

Odilon Redon, French, 1840 - 1916
The Green Vase (Le vase vert), c. 1900

Henri Matisse, French, 1869 - 1954
Woman Seated before a Black Background (Femme assise sur fond noir), 1942

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