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Impressionist and Modern Art (Day Sale) and Impressionist
8 May 2003
New York, Rockefeller Plaza
Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
La Japonaise au bord de l'eau (Portrait de Madame Matisse)
signed with initials 'HM.' (lower left)
watercolor on paper
10 1/8 x 8 in. (25.8 x 20.4 cm.)
Painted in Collioure, 1905
Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery; Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, and Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Matisse, March-September 1995, p. 181, no. 29 (illustrated in color, p. 183; titled Etude pour La Japonaise).
New York, Hollis Taggart Galleries, The Color of Modernism: The American Fauves, April-July 1997, p. 148, no. 47 (titled Study for 'La Japonaise' (Mme Matisse in a Kimono)).
Marseille, Musée Cantini, Quelque chose de plus que la couleur: le dessin fauve 1900-1908, June-September 2002, p. 176, no. 159 (illustrated in color).
Wanda de Guébriant has confirmed the authenticity of this watercolor which is recorded as no. AQ46 in the Henri Matisse archives.
In 1905 Matisse and his family spent the first of several summers at Collioure, a small Mediterranean fishing port near the border with Spain. Painting side-by-side with André Derain, Matisse began exploring what he would later describe as "construction by means of color."
The present watercolor is a study for the important Fauve painting, La Japonaise au bord de l'eau (coll. The Museum of Modern Art, New York). The seascape background may also be seen in another Fauve painting from this period, Marine: La Moulade (Private Collection, New York). In the present study, the figure and landscape are defined through lines and arabesques of pure color, the technique that Matisse used to shape the new visual language in his first Fauve paintings done during the summer of that year.