164
164
Henri Matisse
FEMME ASSISE
Estimate
250,000350,000
JUMP TO LOT
164
Henri Matisse
FEMME ASSISE
Estimate
250,000350,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper

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London

Henri Matisse
1869 - 1954
FEMME ASSISE
signed Matisse and dated 12/45 (upper right)
charcoal on paper
52 by 40.5cm., 20 1/2 by 15 7/8 in.
Executed in Vence in December 1945.
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The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Wanda de Guébriant.

Provenance

Estate of William Zalken
Joan Michelman Ltd., New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1989

Catalogue Note

The present work belongs to a series of charcoal portraits executed between1943 and 1946. Matisse, fascinated by exotic physiognomies as well as by Oriental decoration, used several West Indian women as models. In choosing sitters of non-Western ethnicity, he followed the Orientalist tradition that has its origins in 19th Century French culture. Inspired by his journey to Morocco in 1912-13, he painted exotic costumes and lavishly ornamented interiors throughout his career. In the present work, Matisse depicts the woman in an elegant, highly stylised manner, creating a powerful image with an assured, free flowing line.

The charcoal contour delineating the model is enriched with the estompe technique, giving the figure a strong, almost sculptural presence. During the 1920s, charcoal and estompe became Matisse’s preferred medium when working on paper, using erasure to remove the rough charcoal surface and to create texture. Pierre Schneider described Matisse’s estompe method: ‘the blurred traces of the erased drawings were a kind of foundation, a soil in which new forms could be rooted and from which they could draw strength... Each drawing was a phoenix rising from the ashes’ (P. Schneider, Henri Matisse, Paris, 1984, p. 579). The result is in this case a drawing of extraordinary presence.

Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper

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London