- Henri Matisse
Souty (premier état)
Signed Matisse and dated 45 lower left
- Charcoal and estompe on paper
- 20 1/2 by 15 7/8 in.
- 52.5 by 40.5 cm
Theodore Schempp, New York
James Vigeveno Galleries, Los Angeles (sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, March 31, 1949, lot 134)
Jacques Wertheimer, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Albert Loeb & Krugier Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above in November 1969
Christian Zervos, Cahiers d'Art, nos. 20-21, Paris, 1945-46, illustrated p. 180 (bearing the artist's original inscription)
Art News, New York, April 1948, illustrated p. 13
This exquisite charcoal drawing is the first in a series of four versions that Matisse completed of a model named Souty during the autumn of 1945. In the lower left corner, one can see traces of his original inscription "1er État Souty" which he eventually erased and replaced with his signature. Of the four, the present one is the most detailed, showing the floral patterning on the model's blouse and the heavy knot that falls just below her sternum.
Matisse completed this work at a point in his career when he had all but abandoned oil painting in favor of cut-outs, and his drawings of this period show his clear preference for linear compositions. In the present drawing, for example, we can see how he has vigorously worked his charcoal into the surface of the paper, rubbing out certain areas to create shadow and defining others with a highly defined line.