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Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Matisse, H.
Nu assis
signed 'Henri. Matisse' (lower right)
pencil on paper
15 x 11 in. (38.7 x 28.6 cm.)
Drawn in 1919
Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, New York (acquired in 1931)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York (gift from the above in 1935; deaccessioned in 1977) Alice Adam Ltd., Chicago (acquired by the present owner, October 1977)
Philadelphia, The Museum of Art (on loan).
40 Drawings from the MOMA Collection, traveling exhibition organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1947-1949.
Los Angeles, The UCLA Art Galleries; Chicago, The Art Institute; and Boston, The Museum of Fine Art, Henri Matisse Retrospective, 1966, p. 197, no. 162.
Stadt Darmstadt, 3. Internationale der Zeichnung, August-November 1970, p. 130, no. 14 (illustrated).
Marseille, Muse Cantini, 130 Dessins de Matisse, June-September 1974, no. 23.
Chicago, The Art Institute, 1988 (on loan).
Sale room notice
Wanda de Gubriant has confirmed the authenticity of this drawing and will issue a certificate to the purchaser upon request.
Please note that according to Wanda de Gubriant, this work was drawn in 1919, not 1917.

Lot Essay

Matisse experimented with Cubism in 1914-1916. In his drawings the contours of faces and objects become harder and more abstract than previously, and in some portrait drawings the sitter's features are radically simplified and schematic, as if the artist is deconstructing his subject. However, while the impact of Cubism served to reinforce a sculptural and volumetric aspect in depicting the figure, it remained a discipline that seemed superimposed on the subject rather than one that evolved from it. Perhaps for this reason, and also responding to the more traditional classicizing trend that began to emerge in French painting near the end of the First World War, Matisse quickly resumed drawing in a more naturalistic manner by 1917. The present study displays the firm, decisive contours of the earlier period, while there is also a softer, more rounded look in the modeling of the figure. This tendency to rely more upon shading to complement line becomes increasingly characteristic of Matisse's drawing by 1920, when the artist compiled the landmark collection of his recent drawings which his dealer Bernheim-Jeune published as Cinquante Dessins.

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