Category Archives: Henri Matisse

There Are Always Flowers for Those Who Want To See Them

Henri Matisse? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The innovative French artist Henri Matisse reportedly wrote:

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.

This statement appears on countless pictures of floral arrangements, but I have been unable to find the source, and I am beginning to question its authenticity. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: In the 1940s Henri Matisse underwent surgery that left him frequently bedridden. He experimented with a fresh artistic technique to produce colorful illustrations. He and his assistants used scissors to cut out forms from sheets of colored paper and pasted them onto a backing to create collages. In 1947 Matisse published “Jazz” which contained a collection of his recent artworks together with his written thoughts including the following. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

Heureux ceux qui chantent de tout leur cœur, dans la droiture de leur cœur.

Trouver la joie dans le ciel, dans les arbres, dan les fleurs. Il y a des fleurs partout pour qui veut bien les voir.

Here is one possible translation into English by Sophie Hawkes:

Happy are those who sing with all their heart, from the bottoms of their hearts.

To find joy in the sky, the trees, the flowers. There are always flowers for those who want to see them.

Matisse’s thoughts were handwritten, and the images were vivid as shown in the following two samples from the book:

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. 1992, Jazz by Henri Matisse, Quote Page xxvi, 133, and 134, Text by Henri Matisse translated from the French by Sophie Hawkes, (Reprint of original 1947 edition), George Braziller, New York. (Verified with scans)