The Black Shawl
Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)
On View

Matisse hired an Italian model known as Lorette or Laurette to pose for him in late 1916. Over the course of the next year, he painted her almost fifty times: standing, sitting, lying down; clothed, nude, or—as here—somewhere in between. Wrapped in a black lace mantilla, the model’s body is at once revealed and concealed. Her direct but sightless gaze lends the encounter a peculiar erotic charge. The painter’s obsession with Lorette coincided with a transformation in his style, a shift from the abstract approach of his youth to the more concrete and harmonious manner of his maturity. Like many paintings of its model, The Black Shawl perches uneasily between the avant-garde provocations of early Matisse and the sensuous forms of late.


  • Artist Name: Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)
  • Title: The Black Shawl
  • Date: 1917
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 26-1/2 x 50-3/4 in. (67.3 x 128.9 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
  • Accession Number: M.1982.3.P
  • Copyright: © 2017 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Object Information

[Lucien Demotte, Paris and New York, by 1931, still in 1934].
Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., New York, by 1940, still in 1951, sold to;
[Stephen Hahn Gallery, New York, sold August 1968 to];
Norton Simon (sale, New York, Christie’s, 21 October 1980, lot 202, ill., as Lorette VII L’ Écharpe noire, bought-in);
Norton Simon, gift 1982 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Oeuvres des XIX et XX siècles

  • Galerie de la Renaissance, to
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to

Exhibition of Important Paintings: Old and Modern Masters in the New York Art Market from the Collections of Leading New York Dealers

  • New York, American Art Association, American-Anderson Art Galleries, 1931-03-15 to 1931-04-04

Henri Matisse. Exposition organisée au profit de l'Orphelinat des Arts

  • Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 1931-06-16 to 1931-07-25

Exhibition of French Painting from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day

  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1934-06-08 to 1934-07-08

Cornerstone for a College Art Collection: An Outline Exhibition of the History of Art

  • Oberlin, Allen Memorial Art Museum, 1939-05-22 to 1939-06-15

The Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

  • Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1941-01-16 to 1941-03-04
  • Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1941-03-29 to 1941-05-11

Origins of Modern Art

  • Arts Club of Chicago, 1940-04-02 to 1940-04-30


  • Norton Simon Museum, 2019-02-22 to 2019-06-17

Dreaming in Color: The Art of Henri Matisse

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1989-11-09 to 1990-04-15

Reinstallation of South Wing

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-10-07 to 1995-08-13
  • L'Art Vivant,
  • Art News, p. 8
  • Cahiers d'Art, nos. 5-6 pp. 77, 298
  • Formes,
  • Barnes, Albert and V. de Mazia, The Art of Henri Matisse, 1933, no. 82 p. 439
  • Oberlin Bulletin, 1939, no. 60
  • Barr, Alfred H. Jr., Matisse: His Art and His Public, 1951, no. 152a pp. 191, 542, 572
  • Cowart, J. and D. Fourcade, Henri Matisse, the Early Years in Nice, 1916-1930, 1986, p. 61, pl. 3; p. 236, fig. 3 pp. 61, 236
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 176
  • Dauberville, Guy-Patrice; and Michel Dauberville, Matisse: Henri Matisse chez Bernheim-Jeune, 1995, pp. 216, 266
  • Flam, Jack, et al., Matisse in Transition: Around Laurette, 2006, Figure 17 p. 21
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 522 p. 308
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Autograph Letter to Ambroise Vollard, Paris Dealer and Publisher Henri Matisse February 13, 1913
Autograph Letter to Vilma Javor, One of His Models Henri Matisse August 19, 1939
Jazz Henri Matisse 1947

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