Lot 54
  • 54

Henri Matisse

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Henri Matisse
  • signed Henri Matisse and dated 10/42 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 55 by 33cm.
  • 21 5/8 by 13in.


Georges Papazoff, Paris
Comte de Chandieu, Paris
Galerie Drouant-David, Paris (acquired by 1946)
Walter P. Chrysler Jr., New York
G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh (acquired by 1960)
Galerie Beyeler, Basel
Alberto Giacometti, Paris
The Pace Gallery, New York
Brook Street Gallery, London (acquired by 1981)
Sale: Sotheby's, London, 29th March 1988, lot 24
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Matisse - Picasso, 1946, no. 20, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Jeune fille and with incorrect measurements)
Zurich, Kunsthaus; Düsseldorf, Kunstmuseum; The Hague, Gemeentemuseum & Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Thompson Collection, 1960-61, no. 131
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Matisse, 1980, no. 33, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art & Kyoto, The National Museum of Modern Art, Matisse, 1981, no. 88, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, La Femme Corps et âme, 1986


André Lejard, Matisse, 16 peintures 1939-1946, Paris, 1950, illustrated in colour pl. XII
Sandra Orienti, Matisse, Florence, 1971, pl. 35, illustrated in colour
Louis Aragon, Henri Matisse, Paris, 1971, vol. I, pl. XXXII, illustrated in colour p. 268
Matisse (exhibition catalogue), Galerie Dina Vierny, Paris, 1980, illustrated in a photograph of Matisse's studio p. 12
Lydia Delectorskaya, Henri Matisse. Contre vents et marées, Paris, 1996, illustrated in colour p. 409 (titled Tête blonde, fond noir)
Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master, London, 2005, illustrated in a photograph of Matisse's studio p. 387

Catalogue Note

Matisse's works of the late 1930s and early 1940s are largely devoted to the subject of a female figure in an interior setting. Two women dominate in these portraits: the dark-haired Hélène Galitzine, a Russian princess who began modelling for Matisse in the mid-1930s, and Lydia Delectorskaya, also a Russian émigré. Although highly stylised, and depicted with no attempt at anatomical naturalism, Matisse's portraits and figures were usually painted from live models posing for him, as documented in numerous photographs of the artist's muses in his studio. The sitter for the present work was Simone 'Monette' Vincent (fig. 1), to whom Matisse was introduced in July 1942, and who posed for him several times towards the end of that year (fig. 2).


At the time he painted the present work, Matisse was living in Nice with his model and muse Lydia Delectorskaya. Matisse had moved into Hôtel Régina in Nice in October 1939, returning to the grand rooms which had become both the artist's home and studio in the south of France. Whilst there, although suffering intermittently from ill health and at times confined to bed, the artist painted some of the most life-affirming and colourful compositions. His work in the early 1940s is characterised by Alfred Barr as demonstrating a 'complete synthesis after fifty years of study and ceaseless research in which academic, impressionist, quasi-primitive, arbitrarily abstract and comparatively realistic styles were all put to the test'.


Discussing Matisse's female portraits of this period, John Elderfield wrote: 'his model is shown in decorative costumes - a striped Persian coat, a Rumanian blouse - and the decorativeness and the very construction of a costume and of a painting are offered as analogous. What developed were groups of paintings showing his model in similar or different poses, costumes, and settings: a sequence of themes and variations that gained in mystery and intensity as it unfolded' (J. Elderfield in Henri Matisse, A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 357).