Vase of Flowers

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954)


Framed: 76.8 × 90.5 × 10.2 cm (30 1/4 × 35 5/8 × 4 in.) Overall: 60.6 x 73.7 cm (23 7/8 x 29 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

Not On View





From 1917 into the 1920s, Matisse lived in Nice in the South of France during the winter months. He focused on sunny interiors in many of his paintings of this period, here depicting the window and wall of one of the rooms facing the sea in his apartment on the Place Charles-Félix. His interest in balancing a variety of disparate shapes and colors, in combinations at once abrupt and harmonious, is in full effect in this work. The simple subject of a vase of flowers surrounded by patterned fabric and wallpaper provides an opportunity for formal experimentation. Vase of Flowers transforms an ostensibly straightforward subject into a vivid study of perspective and composition.


Lower right: Henri Matisse


Georges Bernheim, Paris [see note 1]. 1928, Alex Reid and Lefevre, Ltd., Glasgow and London; February 15, 1928, sold by Reid and Lefevre to M. Knoedler and Co., London and New York (stock no. A88) [see note 2]; December 31, 1928, sold by Knoedler to John Taylor Spaulding (b. 1870 - d. 1948), Boston; 1948, bequest of John Taylor Spaulding to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948)

[1] As early as 1928, the painting was said to come from the collection of "Mr. Georges B., Paris" (see "A Century of French Painting," exh. cat. Knoedler, New York, November 12 - December 2, 1928, cat. no. 45), who was later specified to be Georges Bernheim (see Jack Cowart and Dominique Fourcade, Henri Matisse: The Early Years in Nice, 1916-1930, exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 1986, p. 319, cat. no. 13).

[2] Getty Provenance Index, M. Knoedler and Co. records, PI number K-26727 (stock book 8, no. A88, p. 30).

Credit Line

Bequest of John T. Spaulding


© 2011 Succession H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.