Nude on a Sofa

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)
Oil on canvas 
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61.0 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© 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 
Not 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.”


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.

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