Henri Matisse's Les Demoiselles

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Art is based on influences and creative works, having the ability to visualize outside influences while manipulating them in the artist’s own imagination is truly stunning. Henri Matisse along with Pablo Picasso are few of many that could use that outside “influence” and depict it in a beautiful and subtle way. African sculptures and tribal masks caused a vast effect on both artists, and so each artist adopted the use of this non-Western art form in different ways. African art was introduced to many Europeans and artists during the colonial phase and served as a great source in Matisse’s The Young Sailor as well as, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles. The tradition of African masks was religious and impressionable, which is why Les Demoiselles is so …show more content…
Matisse focused mainly on portraits, studio interiors, still life and the female figure, (Dabrowski 2004) while Picasso favored Cubism. Les Demoiselles caused a huge recognition in the 20th century due to the clear of use of Cubism, especially regarding the African masks. The African sculptures caused Picasso to move away from paintings that were based on entertainment but more towards freeing the human mind of reality (Dabrowski 2004). Picasso never really gave African art credit but masked-faces were evident in his paintings such as, Bust of a Man, Woman’s Head and Woman in an Armchair all which contained geometric proportions (Murrell 2008). Colonialism was happening when these avant-grade artists began experimenting with African art. Beginning in the 1870s African sculptures were introduced to Europe after the colonial subjugation and during expeditions to West Africa (Murrell 2008). An interest of non-Western broke out among many modern day artists and their followers, that interest became known as Primitivism, which is a term that describes the standpoint of artists on non-Western art (Murrell 2008). As a final point, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso along with their School of Paris members played a very important role in the spread of African-influenced sculptures and masks to all of Europe. Using the spiritual aspect of the masks both artists were able to

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