Matisse's colour moved towards the ultraviolet end of the spectrum - paintings such as the "Egyptian Curtain" and the sequence of "Deux Fillettes" painted in the late 40's just before the wholesale move into the cut-outs - these works have an aerial glow to their colour- the sum total of the component colours is a sort of 'float' of violetness that creates a luminosity as a result of the interaction of colour rather than an effect of a colour blend - found in a sunset for example (local colour). These colours define space and build to create this ethereal almost xray luminescence.
The ultraviolet end of the spectrum has the shorter wavelengths of electromagnetism and consequently more energy (I was interested to read this on the hubble site). It was the Impressionists who exploited this violet daylight glow with their complimentary colour in the shadows approach - made all the easier by the invention of the paint tube ( making plein-air work more accessible) and a whole new range of blues and violets in these tubes.
Kenneth Noland is an artist who has worked out of these traditions to great effect, with a consummate control of colour and surface. Sometimes though the paintings lose something when they seem more "photgraphic" in colour luminosity rather than constructed luminosity achieved through contrast (It was Cezanne who said - 'All lies in the contrast"). As a colourist , those Matisse paintings of the 40's are a real benchmark for using colour. They carve out colour shapes but never become overtly planar as in say Picasso, where coloured planes seem to fill rather than create space. This was one of the most noticeable things in the Tate Gallery's Matisse Picasso show that no amount of "artful" curation could ignore - Matisse painted better - His colours add up in a"non-linear" way whereas Picasso's colours simply were 'there' and hinted at 'nowhere' else - they don't have the same glow about them. Furthermore there was also something conventionally centrifugal about his compositions. Put something in the middle and hack up planes around this feature, whereas Matisse's language was much more fluid - more like our own field of vision really. I wondered if it was because Matisse recorded and synthesised his field of vision by constantly moving his head and his adjusting his compositions in this fluid way rather than Picasso's more static synthesis? (was it non-recorded?). Put it another way, Picasso's work, especially the more classically painted figures look like they had been painted over a photograph - a single viewpoint (very similar in fact to much of someone like Hockney's paintings, though Picasso's are superior). Matisse's space was awkward yet 'felt'. It is no surprise to me that monographs on Picasso always look great - his art lends itself to reproduction (I have lots of books on Picasso - they all look good, even the cheaper ones) This plus his insistance of working so heavily from faces, eyes, bodies has really embedded him as the artist of the reproduction. Matisse is far more rewarding in the flesh.