Henri Matisse

Trivaux Pond

1916 or 1917

Not on display

Henri Matisse 1869–1954
Original title
L'Etang de Trivaux
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 927 × 743 mm
frame: 1132 × 947 × 93 mm
Bequeathed by C. Frank Stoop 1933

Display caption

The purchase of a car in 1917 allowed Matisse to take all his painting equipment into the woods. He made several works at Trivaux Pond, in the landscaped park of the Bois de Meudon on the outskirts of Paris. Here, the verticals of the trees establish a strong rhythm. Matisse treats the surface of the pond loosely, simplifying the forms and merging reflections with their surroundings. Although within the immediate environs of the city, Matisse imbued the park with an imagined ruralism.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Henri Matisse 1869-1954

N04717 L'Etang de Trivaux (Trivaux Pond) c.1916-17

Inscribed 'Henri-Matisse' b.r. and 'l'étang de Trivaux' on stretcher
Oil on canvas, 36 1/2 x 29 1/4 (93 x 74)
Bequeathed by C. Frank Stoop 1933
Prov: With Paul Guillaume, Paris (purchased from the artist 1917); with Galerie Vildrac, Paris, 1918; with Leicester Galleries, London, 1919; C. Frank Stoop, London, 1926
Exh: Pictures by Henri-Matisse and Sculptures by Maillol, Leicester Galleries, London, November-December 1919 (P), as 'L'Etang de Trivaux'; Modern French Paintings, Leicester Galleries, London, September-October 1923 (30); Henri-Matisse, Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, June-July 1931 (141 bis); Re-Opening Exhibition, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, October-December 1933 (600); Rétrospective Henri Matisse, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, July-November 1956 (41, repr.); Henri Matisse, UCLA Art Galleries, Los Angeles, January-February 1966 (45, repr. in colour); Art Institute of Chicago, March-April 1966 (45, repr. in colour); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, May-June 1966 (45, repr. in colour); Henri Matisse: 64 Paintings, Museum of Modern Art, New York, July-September 1966 (35, repr.); Matisse 1869-1954, Hayward Gallery, London, July-September 1968 (70, repr.); Henri Matisse, Grand Palais, Paris, April-September 1970 (150, repr.), dated 1917
Lit: J.B. Manson, 'Mr. Frank Stoop's Modern Pictures' in Apollo, X, 1929, pp.129-131, repr. frontispiece in colour; Albert C. Barnes and Violette de Mazia, The Art of Henri-Matisse (New York-London 1933), No.78, p.438; Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Matisse: his Art and his Public (New York 1951), pp.194, 543, 557, repr. p.407; Gaston Diehl, Henri Matisse (Paris 1954), pp.69, 154, 162, repr. pl.79 in colour; Exhibition: The Memoirs of Oliver Brown (London 1968), pp.63-6; Mario Luzi and Massimo Carrà, L'Opera di Matisse dalla Rivolta 'Fauve' all'Intimismo 1904-1928 (Milan 1971), No.228, p.95, repr. p.96
Repr: John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery (London 1958), p.151 in colour

This picture has sometimes been known as 'La Forêt' or as 'Arbre près de l'Etang de Trivaux', but is inscribed on the stretcher in the artist's hand 'l'étang de Trivaux' (which is also the title under which it was first exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1919).

The small Trivaux Pond lies in the park-like Bois de Meudon, about two miles from Matisse's house on the Route de Clamart. During the years 1916-17, Matisse painted several landscapes of the trees around the pond or the view looking down the Allée de Trivaux. This work has sometimes been dated 1916 or c.1916, and sometimes 1917.

The trees on the left are seen reflected in the water. 'Nature excites the imagination to representation', Matisse told students in 1908. 'But one must add to this the spirit of the landscape in order to help its pictorial quality. Your composition should indicate the more or less entire character of these trees, even though the exact number you have chosen would not accurately express the landscape' (Barr, op. cit., p.552).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.496-7, reproduced p.496

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