Skip to main content

Still Life (Histoires juives)

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954)

In this still life, Henri Matisse depicted several items that would appear in other works from the same period. The brass or copper ewer with a long spout is one such object, and both the folding screen with a floral motif and the compote dish on the table show up frequently. The artist once said that in painting still lifes he was less interested in the objects themselves than in their visual relationships, the spaces between them, and the light that played across the whole arrangement. But his repeated inclusion of such items signaled the special affection he felt for the vessels, textiles, rugs, and pieces of furniture that were part of his large personal collection. Books with legible titles are more unusual in Matisse’s still life paintings. The blue paperback on the table in this work is Histoires Juives, a widely read anthology of Jewish jokes and stories by the folklorist Raymond Geiger, published in 1924.

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.