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Game of Checkers
Artist Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse, from 1869 – 1954, near Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Northern France.

The Painter's Family playing a game of checkers

The Painter’s Family
1911 playing a game of checkers.


Pianist and Checker Players Painting

Pianist and Checker Players,
painting made in 1924.
  • From around 1897, artist Henri Matisse’s roots were shaded with the color of Impressionism because he began to focus on the element of color in his paintings.

  • In 1908 Henri Matisse wrote in ‘Notes d’un peintre’: “I dream of an art of balance, purity and calm, without troubling or depressing themes, that will offer...a soothing influence.”

  • Further views on the freedom of his artistic expression were stated in the following quotes:
"I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime, which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost me."

"In modern art, it is undoubtedly to Cézanne that I owe the most."

"A colorist makes his presence known even in a single charcoal drawing." "The function of the artist is not to translate an observation but to express the shock of the object on his nature; the shock, with the original reaction."
  • ‘The Painter’s Family’ made in 1911, represented the genre scene of a Matisse’s family at home where the artist painted his wife, Amélie, seated on the sofa in the background of the setting focused on her own activity, while his sons, Jean and Pierre were involved in a game of checkers in the middle of the room; his daughter, Marguerite, appeared to be looking askance towards the boys at the checkerboard.

  • The monumental decorative piece clearly represented checkers artist Henri Matisse’s love of patterns within patterns and daring, bold colors painted in broad brushstrokes to convey the natural checkers motif of a normal, daily household pleasure, the rear wall and the sofas did not delineate the scene because the wall existed only as part of a continuum of color wherein the patterned rug and sofas, the flowered wallpaper and speckled fireplace, the freshly filled vases, the sculpture of Matisse's ‘The Serf’, the red costumes of the brothers, the yellow and black dresses all dance, rhyme and sing as a single musical abstract composition.

  • ‘Pianist and Checker Players’ clearly depicted his style of this period as it showed areas of bright primary colors and rhythmic, two dimensional subjects.

  • Artist Henri Matisse’s theme represented a typical family evening activity of music and a game of checkers being enjoyed in a relaxed atmosphere of the family parlor.
National Gallery of Art background on the checkers painting:
“Through the 1920s, Matisse stayed in Nice from late fall to early spring of each year, while his wife and family remained in Issy-les-Moulineaux outside Paris. Pianist and Checker Players is set in Matisse's Nice apartment and shows the artist's favorite model, Henriette Darricarère and her two brothers. The painting can be seen as a surrogate family portrait, with Henriette standing in for Matisse's daughter, and the two boys representing his sons...This is distinctly Matisse's world: near the empty armchair at the center of the painting where the artist might sit, his violins hang from the armoire and his drawings and paintings are tacked to the wall. The possible psychological complexities of the painting are more than matched by those of its pictorial organization. In few paintings does Matisse manage to control such an extraordinary proliferation of pattern and ornamentation. To this decorative profusion Matisse adds an equivalent abundance of perspective viewpoints: piano, chairs, floor, and bureau are each pictured from different angles. Despite the wealth of pictorial elements, a curious, calm order of structured harmony prevails. Pianist and Checker Players is suffused with a warm glow made up of complementary tones of yellow and red.”
  • Henri Matisse’s modernist, decorative creations declared an independence from history, biography and emotion in their free expression and depicted a raw and intense chromatic schema that was very reminiscent of the abstract and symbolist art of Paul Gauguin but at the same time, the broad strokes and color patterns within a genre scene depicted the influence of Cézanne.

  • The people in his paintings were simply created free to pursue their endeavors in whatever fashion they chose; he used the checkers image in numerous paintings as part of his overall decorative motif.
Odalisque with checkerboard and armchair
Odalisque with checkerboard and armchair.
Harmony in yellow with checkerboard
Harmony in yellow with checkerboard.
Dancer in a chair
Dancer in a chair on a checkerboard.











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DeerLake Online Store Items

Wonder Mugs Play checkers online, and enjoy drinking from this cool wonder mug.
When adding hot liquid, the colors of the mug will change, checkers cool.

Checkers is a two-player game, where one player is assigned white-chip checkers and the other red. The aim is to play checkers online, capture all of the other player's checkers or make them impossible to move.

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