Lot 22
  • 22

HENRI MATISSE | Nu debout aux bras levés

400,000 - 600,000 USD
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  • Henri Matisse
  • Nu debout aux bras levés
  • Signed Henri Matisse (lower left)
  • Charcoal and estompe on paper
  • 20 1/4 by 15 3/4 in.
  • 51.5 by 40 cm
  • Executed in 1922-23.


Galerie Berggruen, Paris 

Acquired from the above by 1983 


Los Angeles, UCLA Art Galleries; Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago & Boston, Museum of Fine Art, Henri Matisse: Retrospective 1966, 1966, no. 169, illustrated in the catalogue

Edmonton, Alberta, Edmonton Art Gallery, Matisse in Canadian Collections, 1983-84, no. 19


Karen Thomson, ed., The Blema and H. Arnold Steinberg Collection, Montreal, 2015, illustrated in color p. 86

Catalogue Note

The theme of the nude fascinated Matisse throughout his life. From even before his Fauve period, Matisse presented the female form in an idiom all his own. However, it was the 1920s and the introduction of exotic Odalisques that saw Matisse revolutionize this iconic mode, forevermore seducing his viewers with lush visions of idealized beauty. Matisse painted, sculpted, drew and printed most of his masterpieces at this juncture of his celebrated career. The present work is executed in charcoal and estompe, a technique which Matisse began using in the early 1920s and applied primarily to his portraiture. In his article Notes d'un peintre sur son dessin, published in 1939, Matisse described the advantages of this medium which allowed him "to consider simultaneously the character of the model, the human expression, the quality of surrounding light, atmosphere and all that can only be expressed by drawing" (reproduced in J. Elderfield, The Drawings of Matisse, London, 1984, p. 84).

Nu debout aux bras levés is closely related to the 1922 oil Nu sur found rouge, with a nearly identical hairstyle, arm and body position, save for the contraposto of the legs which switches from left to right (see fig. 1). The model for this work was Henriette Darricarrère, who began posing for the artist in early 1921. A film extra at a nearby movie studio, Matisse "... picked her out initially for her innate dignity, her athlete's carriage, the graceful way her head sat on her neck. Henriette was younger but steadier and less worldly than her predecessor, which meant she fitted in far more easily with the Matisses' highly unconvenitonal existence. She was a dancer and a violinist, a trained musician with natural gifts as a painter, talents Matisse encouraged in her as in his own children" (H. Spurling, Matisse the Master. A Life of Henri Matisse: The Conquest of Colour, 1909-1954, New York, 2005, p. 241). Henriette got on especially well with Matisse's daughter Marguerite and the luminous, sculptural quality of Henriette's body would provide the inspiration for some of the artist's most evocative artworks in Nice. She would appear clothed, partially nude in harem trousers or semi transparent draperies veiling the lower half of the body (see fig. 2) or fully nude as in Nu debout aux bras levés

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Georges Matisse.