new on display

Henri Matisse
Now on view

Matisse once said: “I make odalisques so that I can paint nudes.”He found other paintings of nudes artificial. On his trips toMorocco in the winters of 1912 and 1913, Matisse encountered the world of the odalisques. Years later, living in Nice in the southof France, the dazzling light may have flooded Matisse’s mindwith vivid memories of Morocco and dazzling oriental images.He began a series of odalisques. Matisse executed this earlyOdalisque in fluent lines, in the same confident way he paintedthe lush fabric on which she lies. Matisse always strove toimbue his Odalisques with a sense of serenity. This was quitechallenging, as he often surrounded them with riotous color.

Henri Matisse's principal subject during the years 1917 to 1930, known as his early Nice period, was the female figure. Favorite among these was the odalisque. The odalisque was frequently posed among decorative textiles and carpets, cushions and draped fabrics. She was (half) dressed in typical North African costume and depicted standing, seated or reclining. Matisse first came to the theme of the odalisque in Morocco which he visited in 1912 and again in 1913. Morocco provided him with his greatest inspiration outside of France. In this painting, the lines defining the figure merge with the ornamental material of a couch. The importance of this work concerns decorative patterning. Moreover, Paul Cézanne's influence can be seen here in the flattening of space and the interpenetration of foreground and background. The use of exotic clothes and the stress on line and colour distances Matisse aesthetically from the erotic content of the picture.

Now on view in gallery 0.14.