The Aqueduct at Arcueil

WAG 6216


Matisse took up painting in 1890 after training as a lawyer. Arcueil was a Paris suburb where he regularly painted landscapes between 1898 and 1900. By 1898 Matisse had begun to explore colour more fully with freer brushstrokes. His starting point was natural colour, but in parts of this painting he introduced apparently arbitrary colours, as in the group of trees overhanging the left wall. Such deliberately anti-naturalistic colouring re-emerged in Matisse’s work in 1905, when he, André Derain and others were disapprovingly named ‘les Fauves’ (the wild beasts) for using unusual paint colours and wild brushwork.