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    Sale 1902

    Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper

    7 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 108

    Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

    Femme lisant

    Price Realised  


    Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
    Femme lisant
    stamped with initials 'HM.' (upper left)
    brush and India ink and gray wash on paper
    10¾ x 14 7/8 in. (27.3 x 37.8 cm.)

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    Wanda de Guébriant has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

    The present work depicts a young woman leisurely entranced in reading a book while seated comfortably at a table. This exquisitely rendered work comes from a series executed in the late teens and early 1920s in which Matisse depicted women in interior settings participating in personal pursuits, such as reading, playing the piano or simply gazing out a window with detached aloofness. The strong sense of solitude and tranquility lend an intimacy to these works--rather than the highly ornamental and controlled portraits that Matisse had been executing in his studio, these portraits appear more voyeuristic and informal, as though the artist had quietly set up an easel in the woman's sitting room and captured her in a moment of undisturbed quietude. Melanie Horst has observed:

    At this time Matisse favored 'more natural' models whom he introduced into his images as explicitly contemporary figures--with bobbed hair, short dresses, and casual poses--who no longer embodied the feminine ideal. The articulation of figure and space meant that the interior lost its original significance as shelter and realm of the private (in Henri Matisse: Figure, Color, Space, exh. cat., Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, 2005-2006, p. 188).


    Estate of the artist.
    Pierre Matisse, New York (by descent from the above).
    By descent from the above to the late owner.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Estate of Pierre-Noël Matisse