Nude on a Sofa
Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)
On View

Using a dry brush charged with black paint almost as though it were a stick of charcoal, Matisse laid in the contours of this reclining nude with a brisk hand. The composition holds red (the chair, the flowers), white (the sheet, the vase) and black (the body’s contours and the boldly patterned backdrop) in perfect equilibrium. By the 1920s, Matisse’s work had taken a classical turn, increasingly focused on the subject of the female nude and driven by the practice of drawing. “What I dream of,” he would later explain, “is an art of balance, purity, tranquility... an art which is soothing... something similar to a good armchair.”


  • Artist Name: Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)
  • Title: Nude on a Sofa
  • Date: 1923
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61.0 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1998.2.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

Gaston Bernheim de Villers (d. 1953), Paris, 1931-1953?
?Mme Gaston Bernheim de Villers (Suzanne Adler, d. 1961);
Galerie Methey, Paris, by 1969;
[Paul Pétridès, Paris, sold 17 July 1969, as Nu sur canapé, 1925, to];
The Norton Simon Foundation; acc. no. F.1969.22.P, sold 1998 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.


  • 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
  • Schneider, Pierre, Matisse, p. 16
  • Grünewald, Isaac, Matisse och Expressionismen, 1944, opp. p. 90
  • Schneider, Pierre, Henri Matisse, 1984, p. 16
  • Durozoi, Gérard, Matisse, 1984, p. 21
  • Krumpak, Tom, Designer's West Magazine, 1986, pp. 214-215
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 176
  • Dauberville, Guy-Patrice; and Michel Dauberville, Matisse: Henri Matisse chez Bernheim-Jeune, 1995, no. 579
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 661 p. 324

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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