Sold with a photo-certificate from Wanda de Guéubriant dated Paris, le 9/6/87, stating the work is recorded under no. V145 in the artist's archives.
Drawn in Nice in 1927, Odalisque portrays Henriette Daricarrère, Matisse's favourite model from 1920 to 1927. Thanks to her theatrical presence and excellence at role-playing, she came to embody the exotic odalisque fantasies initiated by Lorette and Antoinette Arnoux, the artist's models in the late 1910s. As J. Cowart wrote, '[Henriette] would incarnate the artistic and psychological atmosphere of these niçoises years... [She] adopted the subject roles more easily and could express the moods and the atmosphere of Matisse's settings without losing her own presence or her strong appearance. Her distinctive physical features - a sculpturesque body and a finely detailed face with a beautiful profile - are evident in many of the artist's paintings, sculptures, and works on paper' (Henri Matisse. The Early Years in Nice 1916-1930, exh. cat., Washington, 1986,p. 27).
In 1921, after his early stays at the Hôtel de la Méditerranée et de la Côte d'Azur, Matisse rented an apartment at 1, place Charles Félix. In the fall of 1926, he moved from the third to the top floor of the eighteenth century building, and then acquired the use of the right section, thus making a double apartment. It was in this large, extraordinarily sunlit setting that he painted his most famous portraits of odalisques, cast against decorative screens, surrounded by a samovar, a rococo rable, a Turkish chair, and some of the grand floral hangings he had used for 1925-26 canvasses. These strinking paintings were prepared by a series of sketches, bozzetti, and finished drawings, where Henriette's reclining nude was celebrated in its full erotic sumptuousness. These works inspired by an imaginary Orient are 'the fullest realization of Matisse's thesis on pattern, decoration, and the odalisque placed in his "brewing tension". He surely enjoyed the deceptive game he played with this conflict between reality, appearance, and art, and dreaming and waking' (ibidem, p. 37).