HENRI MATISSE (1869-1954) Deux odalisques 19 3/4 x 15 in (50.1 x 38.1 cm) (Executed in 1928)

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Lot 22
HENRI MATISSE
(1869-1954)
Deux odalisques

Sold for US$ 106,562 inc. premium

Impressionist & Modern Art

17 Nov 2020, 17:00 EST

New York

HENRI MATISSE (1869-1954)
Deux odalisques
signed and dated 'Henri Matisse 28' (lower right)
pen and ink on paper
19 3/4 x 15 in (50.1 x 38.1 cm)
Executed in 1928

Footnotes

  • The authenticity of this work was confirmed by the late Madame Marguerite Duthuit.

    Provenance
    M. Chenue, France.
    Sale: Salons du Trianon Palace, Versailles, June 5, 1962, lot 51.
    Mr. Hellenberg, Paris (acquired at the above); and sold: Sotheby's, London, April 24, 1963, lot 80.
    A.R. Milburn.
    Barry Miller, London
    Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago (acquired in December 1966).
    Private collection, Virginia (acquired in December 1970).
    Private collection, Chicago (by descent from the above).
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2017.

    Exhibited
    Berlin, Galerien Thannhauser, Henri Matisse, February 15 - March 19, 1930, no. 148 (titled Zwei Mädchen).

    In the decades following his seminal trip to Morocco in the 1910s, Matisse would paint and draw odalisques and other scenes referencing the ideal exoticism of the Near-Eastern Orient with dizzying frequency. Here, this 1928 drawing of two women lounging in blousy robes and ornate jewelry continues this trend, while also highlighting European artists' retour à l'ordre after the chaotic horror of World War I – a momentary abandonment of avant-garde artistic exploration and a return to the safe, traditional outlook of nineteenth century masters such as Ingres, Fortuny, de Jonghe, and Lefebvre.

    Indeed, the graceful, luxurious figure of the odalisque, which would become one of the most emblematic motifs in Matisse's oeuvre, was a popular artistic subject throughout the nineteenth century, the height of European colonialism in North Africa and the Middle East. Orientalism pervaded media in all its forms – design, literature, and art – and offered patrons an escape from the familiar. Portrayals of the nearly-mythical odalisque, for instance, embodied an indolence and eroticism far removed from Western societal propriety and the stress of industrial progress.
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