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    Sale 7703

    Impressionist/Modern Works on Paper

    5 February 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 120

    Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

    Nature morte dans un intérieur

    Price Realised  


    Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
    Nature morte dans un intérieur
    signed and dated 'Henri Matisse Juillet 44' (lower left)
    charcoal and estompe on paper
    20¾ x 16 in. (52.5 x 40.5 cm.)
    Executed in July 1944

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    Wanda de Guébriant has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

    'A master of colour as much as of lines, Henri Matisse saw the exercise of drawing as fundamentally important. A specific and infinite space for creation, it enabled an exploration of "everything you can only express through drawing"' (D. Fourcade, Ecrits et propos de Matisse, Paris, 1992). Use of charcoal was a particularly decisive step prior to quill drawing which he practised assiduously throughout his career. Offering great freedom, the artist considered his drawings to be completely separate works.

    Nature morte dans un intérieur represents one of the artist's favourite themes: the interior. Probably inspired by the interior of the Villa le Rêve where Matisse lived from 1943 to 1948, he depicts a table decorated with fruit and an Oriental-style tea service, a far-off reminiscence of a fruitful trip to North Africa. This particularly elegant service appears in other works by Matisse, including Grand intérieur rouge, 1948 (Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou) as well as in several photographs by Hélène Adant, who was the painter's personal photographer during the last decade of his life.

    In this drawing, an empty chair turns its back to the window which looks out onto dense foliage. The outward opening, as if onto another imaginary world, always occupied a key place in Matisse's canvasses from his Fauve period. A decorative element appears on the background wall, faintly outlined with delicate cross-hatching. Matisse here offers us his view on reality, combining harmony and mobility of decorative lines. Refined and supple, his style focuses on the rendering of light, skilfully highlighted by the effect of smudging the charcoal. Matisse once again defies the laws of traditional perspective by rejecting the academic hierarchy of perspective and gives free reign to his poetic temperament.

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    Acquired by the family of the present owner in the 1950s.


    M. Malingue, Matisse, dessins, Paris, 1949, p. 15 (illustrated p. 68).