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Henri Matisse | La Musique (1910, oil on canvas)

La Musique, 1910
Matisse Speaks
I loosen with my hands all women's hair
Day wears the colour that my hands give it
A sigh breathed in my room sets sails swelling
And my gaze at tomorrow is an enduring dream

Every flower in its nakedness is like those captives
Whose sheer beauty makes one's fingers tremble
I wait I see I wonder and the drifting sky
Is clear before me like a garment shed

I explain with no words the circling steps
I explain the bare footprint that the wind dissolves
I explain with no mystery a moment of this world
I explain the sun on an imagined shoulder

I explain a black pattern against the open window
I explain the birds the trees the seasons
I explain the mute happiness of green plants
I explain the dwelt-in silence of houses

I explain endlessly shadow and transparency
I explain the touch of women and their brightness
I explain a firnament of objects through their differences
I explain the relation between the things that are here

I explain the fragrence of transitory forms
I explain what makes the white paper sings
I explain what makes a leaf light
And how branches are slower-moving arms

I render rightful tribute to the light
Steadfast amidst the miseries of our time
I paint the hope of our eyes so that Henri Matisse
May tell the future what man expects of it.

Louis Aragon (1947)

Henri Matisse About the Artist

Olga's Gallery - Henri Matisse
Web Museum: Henri Matisse
National Gallery of Art: Matisse and the Fauves
Artcyclopedia: Matisse
CGFA Matisse


Henri Matisse had many admirers, including Andre Breton, Picasso and Louis Aragon. Aragon's two-volume, "Matisse: A Novel" covers almost 30 years of the writer's work on the artist. Matisse also provided illustrations for a deluxe volume of James Joyce's "Ulysses."