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Download McBreen speaks about this Matisse work entitled Still Life with Lemons. (2.3 MB)


Matisse used solid, vivid colors to render the simple forms and geometric background segments of this still life. Roughly outlined and intentionally flattened, each element shows evidence of the artist’s brushstrokes and his manipulation of pigment. An extended title, Still life with lemons whose forms correspond to a drawing of a black vase upon the wall, points to intentional relationships between shapes. The ovoid form of the pitcher echoes the curves of the plump lemons below; those of its neck and base are repeated in the foot of the blue glass compote at lower left. A book entitled “Tapis” (Carpet) lies neatly aligned with the brilliant red wedge beneath the single lemon. The familiar forms seem to float on the surface, unburdened by mass or by placement in space, but joyfully interrelated through color and shape. 1914

Publication Date



RISD Museum


Providence, Rhode Island


Rhode Island School of Design Museum; still life; lemons



Still Life with Lemons (whose forms correspond to a drawing of a black vase upon the wall)

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Painting Commons



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