• Old Master, Modern & Contempor auction at Christies

    Sale 7839

    Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints

    31 March 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 107

    Henri Matisse

    Nu au Coussin Bleu (D.-M. 442)

    Price Realised  


    Henri Matisse
    Nu au Coussin Bleu (D.-M. 442)
    lithograph, 1924, on light wove paper watermarked J PERRIGOT ARCHES and MBM, signed in pencil, inscribed 8/50 (there were also ten artist's proofs), the full sheet, with deckle edges at left and right, some very pale light staining, an unobtrusive, flattened diagonal crease at the lower right sheet edge, three short repaired tears at the lower sheet edge (measuring 10 mm. and shorter), otherwise in good condition
    L. 615 x 475 mm., S. 752 x 560 mm.

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    This and the following lot are amongst Matisse's most elaborate and finely detailed depictions of his favourite model, Henriette Darricarrère, in the guise of an odalisque. The entry of Henriette (about whom little is known) into Matisse's artistic life proved to be of great significance. She served as his primary model throughout most of the 1920's, and came to embody the artist's Niçoise paintings and prints between 1920 and 1927. The artistic chemistry between them had a profound effect on the work Matisse created during these years. Although Matisse had begun exploring the odalisque theme with other models, the fantasy reached its pinnacle with Henriette as its inspiration. She seemed to have the ability to move from one role to another without ever losing her own presence and distinctive features, and here Matisse imbues her with an almost sphinx-like inscrutability. Matisse often stated that the aim of his art was to create an atmosphere of luxe, calme et volupté, which would inspire pleasure in the viewer. The nude was clearly a crucial motif in this aim--the artist confessed that what interested him most in art was neither still life nor the landscape, but the human figure, and it was through the female figure that he was able to express his 'nearly religious feelings toward life'.

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    Walter Pach (1883-1958), New York. Then by descent to the present owners. (See note to lot 103.)

    Pre-Lot Text

    From the Collection of the Late Walter Pach