Early in his career, Matisse discovered the Mediterranean light that pulsates in his first Fauve paintings. He became a regular visitor to the French Riviera, staying mainly in Nice after 1917, where this canvas was painted. Behind the sitter, the sunlight and the deep blue of the Baie des Anges flood in through the wide-open window. The palm trees and the sailboats strung out opposite the quay suggest the seaside holiday of an artist who has not lost the tourist’s sense of wonder. As so often in Matisse’s work, the window itself is the main subject of the painting. A bold foreground is provided by the young model who is posing in a studio that the artist has decorated with richly patterned Oriental fabrics. After the War, Matisse reverted to a more classical-looking style that was in fact extremely decorative: the layout of this scene, hemmed in by emphatic bands, contrasts with the exquisite blue of the sea on the horizon, rendered in graduated shades. This canvas is a fine example of his Nice period.
© Succession H. Matisse / SOCAN (2020)