pencil on paper
Family of the artist
Private Collection (acquired from the above; sale: Christie's, New York, 9th November 2000, lot 475)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
In October 1939, at the outbreak of war, Matisse and his favourite model Lydia Delectorskaya returned to Nice, once again taking over the grand rooms at the Hotel Régina which had become both his home and studio in the south of France. In spite of the troubles and uncertainties of war, Matisse's work from this period exudes a fluid, transparent and joyous quality. No reference to the outside world is ever made, the artist concentrating instead on the enclosed and intimate world of his rooms and study in the Hotel Regina.
A study for an important canvas, Tête, robe rouge, anémones, amandier dans le pot de bronze, sur une sellette de sculpteur (fig. I), the present work is emblematic of many of Matisse's preoccupations as a painter. With an economy of means the artist creates a complex organizational space which puts the flowers, rather than the model, at the centre of the composition. As Pierre Schneider suggested, Matisse shared Manet's conviction that 'still life is the touchstone of painting' (Pierre Schneider, Matisse, Paris, 1984, p. 41).
FIG. I, Henri Matisse, Tête, robe rouge, anémones, amandier dans le pot de bronze sur une sellette de sculpteur, 1940, oil on canvas
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