You can almost feel the heat of the dazzling sun, and hear the rippling water of the Mediterranean in Matisse’s Open Window, Collioure, painted in the south of France in the summer of 1905. Colour jubilantly bursts from every corner of this idyllic scene: viridian green collides with shades of rose pink, mauve and scarlet, all framing a candy coloured vista divided by the fiery orange masts of the boats beyond. Though an image of tranquil calm, this painting was one of a group that caused a huge scandal when it was exhibited in Paris later that year. The explosively coloured canvases of Matisse and his colleagues were revelatory yet were met with shocked outrage, causing one critic to brand the group as ‘wild beasts’ or in French, the now famous moniker: the Fauves.
Words by Annabel Matterson. The Iris Letter August 2016.