Henri Matisse

Draped Nude


Henri Matisse 1869–1954
Original title
Femme nue drapée
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 457 × 375 mm
Purchased 1959

Display caption

This is one of a series of four pictures, all the same size, painted in the spring of 1936. In the first the woman's hands meet in the centre of the picture and the entire lower leg is depicted. This painting, the second in the series, shows Matisse concerned to relate the figure to the edges of the picture: her body fills the space, and the position of her arms, in particular, appears to emphasise the shape of the canvas. The floral patterning of the woman's gown and the exotic plant behind her serve as quiet reminders of the theme of the harem girl, or odalisque, which was central to Matisse's work.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Henri Matisse 1869-1954

T00306 Femme nue drap?e (Draped Nude) 1936

Inscribed 'Henri | Matisse 36' b.l.
Oil on canvas, 18 x 14 3/4 (46 x 37.5)
Purchased from Mrs M.L. Edwards (Grant-in-Aid) 1959
Prov: With Paul Rosenberg, Paris (purchased from the artist); Hugh Willoughby, Cheltenham; through Rosenberg and Heft, London; Mrs M.L. Edwards, Gloucester
Exh: Oeuvres R?centes de Henri-Matisse, Paul Rosenberg, Paris, June 1937 (3); Recent Works of Henri-Matisse, Rosenberg and Helft, London, July 1937 (3); Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Laurens, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, January 1938 (24, repr.); Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, February 1938 (24, repr.); Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, March 1938 (24, repr.)

This was one of a series of four pictures, all the same size, painted in the spring of 1936. The first was a work formerly in the collection of Mrs St John Hutchinson in London, which shows the whole of the left leg and in which the hands meet in the centre of the picture; the right knee is also raised somewhat higher. T00306 came next, and was followed by 'Nude with a Scarf' (repr. Giovanni Scheiwiller, Henri Matisse, Milan 1947, pl.30) and 'Nude on a Blue Background' (included in the Matisse exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, 1970, no.187 bis and reproduced), in that order. As was Matisse's usual practice, the first version was relatively direct, the later versions progressively more and more stylised and rhythmical.

Then later the same year, in November 1936, he painted a fifth picture 'Nude in an Armchair, Green Plant' which is larger than the first four, 73 x 60cm, and is a further variant on the same theme. It now belongs to the Mus?e de Cimiez at Nice and was included in the Matisse exhibition at the Grand Palais in 1970 (190, repr.) with the incorrect date 1937.

(This note is based on information from Mme Duthuit, Dominique Fourcade and Mme Lydia Delectorskaya).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.500, reproduced p.500

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