Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Goldfish Bowl

Artist:
Henri Matisse (French, Le Cateau-Cambrésis 1869–1954 Nice)
Date:
winter 1921–22
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
21 3/8 x 25 3/4 in. (54.3 x 65.4cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982
Accession Number:
1984.433.19
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 830
The walls of Matisse's third-floor apartment at 1, place Félix in Nice were covered with the patterned wallpaper seen in the background of this still life. (The same wallpaper is also visible in Three O'Clock Sitting [2008.551]). The artist is particularly interested in the role of sunlight as it streams in from the unseen window at right. In some areas, the light seems to dissolve the glass objects on the table. Elsewhere Matisse is more interested in refraction; he takes pains to convey the distortion of the wallpaper pattern as seen through the pale green liquid in the bottle at left.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): Henri-Matisse
Gaston Bernheim de Villers, Paris (until 1923; sold on April 23, 1923 to Bernheim-Jeune); [Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1923; stock no. 23355; sold on July 20, 1923, for $1,000, to Thayer]; Scofield Thayer, New York (1923–d. 1982; on extended loan to the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Mass., as part of the Dial Collection, 1931–82; his bequest to MMA)

Paris. MM. Bernheim-Jeune. "Exposition Henri-Matisse," February 23–March 15, 1922, no. 22 (as "Nature morte, poissons rouges et fruits").

New York. Montross Gallery. "Original Paintings, Drawings, and Engravings being Exhibited with the Dial Folio 'Living Art'," January 26–February 14, 1924, unnum. checklist (as "Gold Fish").

Worcester Art Museum. "Exhibition of the Dial Collection of Paintings, Engravings, and Drawings by Contemporary Artists," March 5–30, 1924, no. 22 (as "Gold Fish [sic]").

Northampton, Mass. Hillyer Art Gallery, Smith College. "The Dial Collection," Spring 1924, no catalogue.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Henri Matisse: Retrospective Exhibition," November 3–December 6, 1931, no. 63 (as "Bowl of Goldfish").

Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. "Modern French Masters," November 28–December 31, 1952, no. 20 (as "Goldfish," lent anonymously through the Worcester Art Museum).

Akron Art Institute. "Modern French Masters," January 13–February 16, 1953, no. 20.

Worcester Art Museum. "Modern French Masters," March 5–April 12, 1953, no. 20.

Cambridge. Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University. "Matisse: A Museum Course Exhibition," May 9–June 8, 1955, no. 8 (as "Goldfish," lent anonymously through the Worcester Art Museum).

Worcester Art Museum. "The Dial and the Dial Collection," April 30–September 8, 1959, no. 64 (as "Goldfish").

Worcester Art Museum. "Selections from the Dial Collection," November 13–30, 1965, unnum. checklist (as "Goldfish").

Worcester Art Museum. "The Dial Revisited," June 29–August 22, 1971, no catalogue.

Worcester Art Museum. "'The Dial': Arts and Letters in the 1920s," March 7–May 10, 1981, no. 85 (as "Goldfish").

Canberra. Australian National Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," March 1–April 27, 1986, unnumbered cat. (p. 25; as "Goldfish").

Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," May 7–July 1, 1986, unnumbered cat.

Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "Matisse," March 29–May 16, 1995, no. 95 (as "Goldfish").

Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "Matisse," May 27–July 9, 1995, no. 95.

Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. "Matisse," July 19–September 3, 1995, no. 95.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 93).

Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," September 14–November 24, 2002, no. 47.

Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 7, 2002–March 9, 2003, no. 47.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 128.

Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat. (p. 257).

Elie Faure et al. Henri-Matisse. Paris, 1923, pl. 29, as "Nature morte. Les modes".

"Originals of the Dial Folio of Living Art at Montross." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (February 3, 1924), p. 26.

Dial 80 (June 1926), ill. opp. p. 447 (color), as "Gold Fish [sic]".

Bertel Hintze. Modern Konst, 1900-Talet. Helsinki, 1930, ill. p. 23, dates it 1920.

A[lfred]. H. B[arr]., Jr. Henri Matisse: Retrospective Exhibition. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1931, pp. 20, 51, no. 63, dates it about 1924.

F[rancis]. H[enry] T[aylor]. "Modern French Paintings in the Museum." Bulletin of the Worcester Art Museum 22, no. 4 (January 1932), pp. 69–70, ill., calls it "Still Life" and notes that it is on loan to the Worcester Art Museum from a private collection.

Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Matisse: His Art and His Public. New York, 1951, p. 559, calls it "Goldfish" and dates it about 1922.

Louisa Dresser in The Dial and the Dial Collection. Exh. cat., Worcester Art Museum. Worcester, Mass., 1959, p. 80, no. 64, ill., asserts that the photograph of this painting in Ref. Faure 1923 was taken before the work was signed because the signature does not appear in the photograph.

William Wasserstrom. A Dial Miscellany. Syracuse, 1963, ill. after p. 204, as "Goldfish".

Lisa M. Messinger in "Twentieth Century Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1984–1985. New York, 1985, pp. 46–47, ill. (color), calls it "Goldfish" and dates it about 1921–22; identifies the picture in the upper right-hand corner as "Young Women in a Landscape in the Loup Valley (1921; private collection, Canada).

Margrit Hahnloser-Ingold in Jack Cowart and Dominique Fourcade. Henri Matisse: The Early Years in Nice, 1916–1930. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Washington, 1986, p. 273 n. 60, states erroneously that Thayer purchased this picture from the Leicester Gallery, London [see Refs. Dresser 1959, Dauberville 1995].

Catherine C. Bock. "'Woman Before an Aquarium' and 'Woman on a Rose Divan': Matisse in the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection." Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 12, no. 2 (1986), p. 219 n. 8, calls it "Still Life: 'Les Modes' (The Goldfish)" and dates it 1922.

Michael Lloyd in 20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Australian National Gallery. Canberra, 1986, p. 25, ill. (color) and frontispiece (color), dates it about 1921–22.

Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 105, colorpl. 81, calls it "Goldfish" and dates it about 1921–22.

Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville. Matisse: Henri Matisse chez Bernheim-Jeune. Paris, 1995, vol. 1, p. 110; vol. 2, pp. 1066–67, no. 516, ill., call it "Les poissons rouges" and date it 1921–22; note that this picture was photographed by Bernheim-Jeune in February 1922; state that it was acquired by Bernheim-Jeune from G. Bernheim on April 23, 1923 and sold to Thayer on July 20 of the same year.

Pierre Schneider. Matisse. Rev. ed. (English ed., 1984). Paris, 2002, p. 456 n. 1.

Sabine Rewald in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 171, 233–34, no. 128, ill. (color and bw).

Kristina Wilson. "Fearing a 'Conservative Public': The Dial Collection in Worcester." American Art 27 (Fall 2013), fig. 2 (installation photo, Exh. Worcester 1924).



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