Fifth State: Bathers by a River
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Fifth state, digital re-creation,
early spring — November 1916

Changes in the fifth state — especially in the background — demonstrate Matisse’s deep, evolving concern with construction. By examining the X-radiograph and cross sections, together with information from pigment, paint extender, and filler analysis, we can chart the artist’s numerous combinations of background colors and bands. Research demonstrates he repainted some vertical stripes as many as six times, adjusting widths and altering colors. The left edge underwent the greatest revision as Matisse changed the band from light blue to white, then black, and then to white again before rendering it in pale blue with a black leaf pattern, which he later painted in with green.

Matisse: Radical Invention 1913-1917
Bathers by a River
Back: 1908-09, 1911(?)-13, 1913-16, c. 1931
A Great French Painter, Henri Matisse: A film from 1946
Art Institute of Chicago
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