Henri Matisse

Standing Nude


Not on display

Henri Matisse 1869–1954
Original title
Nu debout
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 921 × 648 mm
frame: 1130 × 865 × 100 mm
Purchased 1960

Display caption

The simplified, angular planes and exaggerated features of this nude suggest the influence of carved figures. Matisse's interest in African art began around 1906, and is probably reflected in this painting. Based on a photograph rather than a model, it subverts the tradition of the academic studio nude. The austere colours are a departure from the brightness of Matisse's earlier Fauvist period.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Henri Matisse 1869-1954

T00368 Nu debout (Standing Nude) 1907

Inscribed 'Henri-Matisse 1907' b.l.
Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 25 1/2 (92 x 65)
Purchased from G. David Thompson through the Galerie Beyeler (Grant-in-Aid) with the aid of a special Treasury Grant 1960
Prov: Dikran Kelekian, Paris; Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1916; with or through Ferargil Galleries, New York; Arthur B. Davies, New York; Davies sale, American Art Association, New York, 17 April 1929, lot 433 repr. as 'Une Baigneuse'; bt. Knoedler, New York, for $1050 on behalf of Quincy A. Shaw McKean, Pride's Crossing, Mass.; with or through Valentine Gallery, New York; Senhora Carlos Martins, Rio de Janeiro; with Galerie Beyeler, Basle; G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh
Exh: Modernist Paintings by American and French Artists, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, February 1923 (22) as 'Nude'; A Group of Paintings by Various Modern Artists loaned by the American Painter Arthur B. Davies, Art Institute of Chicago, April-May 1926 (24); La Femme, Galerie Beyeler, Basle, May-June 1960 (14, repr. in colour); Matisse 1869-1954, Hayward Gallery, London, July-September 1968 (38, repr.)
Lit: Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Matisse: his Art and his Public (New York 1951), pp.86, 95, repr. p.338; Mario Luzi and Massimo Carrà, L'Opera di Matisse dalla Rivolta 'Fauve' all'Intimismo 1904-1928 (Milan 1971), No.95, p.90, repr. p.89; John Jacobus, Henri Matisse (London 1973), p.114, repr. p.115 in colour
Repr: Zolotoe Runo (La Toison d'Or), No.6, 1909, p. 10 as 'Etude de Nu'; Studio, CLXIII, 1962, p.6 in colour

Mme Duthuit wrote that this picture was painted at Collioure in the summer of 1907, without a model, but at a time when the artist was much preoccupied with making sculpture, which may partly account for its harsh and vigorously modelled character (letter of 14 October 1969).

Though reproduced in 1909 as 'Study of a Nude', it appears in the Bernheim Jeune records as 'Nude dragging a Cloth'. It has also been entitled 'A Bather', but has usually been known in recent years as 'Standing Nude'.

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, pp.493-4, reproduced p.493

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