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'.