Henri Matisse
(Le Cateau, Nord, 1869-1954, Cimiez bei Nizza)
The Pont Saint-Michel, Paris, ca. 1900
Oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm
Signed with monogram lower left: H M

It is bad weather in winter, the sky is covered with clouds, it has snowed, and the snow is melting. It makes people shiver, but the painter indulges in beige-greys, which, in rich orchestration, he applies thickly and vivaciously to the canvas. The changing weather forces him to work fast. We are in Paris, Quai Saint-Michel 19, on the fourth floor, where Henri Matisse set up his residence and studio in 1895 and where he at times shared quarters with his friend Albert Marquet; he later turned the place over to Marquet. From the lofty studio we look out over the Seine and the Pont Saint-Michel and down the river to the roofs of the Louvre on the horizon. The Sainte-Chapelle appears on the right. If one looks upriver, one sees Notre-Dame with its two massive west towers. Matisse and Marquet painted both scenes repeatedly, and it is assumed that the six years younger Marquet, who had particularly schooled his eye on these urban landscapes, was the moving spirit here.