About this artwork
While Henri Matisse is perhaps best known as a painter, his simultaneous work in other media—drawing, printmaking, and especially sculpting—was rooted in his earliest artistic experiences and training. In fact, more than half of Matisse’s total output of sculpture (over eighty works) dates to between 1900 and 1909. His three-dimensional pieces reveal a deep interest in the human figure, and in particular the female nude, as well as ancient and Old Master works of art.
Although Matisse’s sculptural production declined after World War I, the works he made while living in Nice continue his earlier interests and relate to his new paintings of odalisques. Seated Nude was inspired by Michelangelo’s Night, a copy of which Matisse studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Nice. The artist worked on the sculpture for almost a decade and extended his exploration of the figure’s pose in numerous drawings and lithographs, at least three paintings, and another sculpture. Over time he slowly increased the size of the figure, making it one of the largest freestanding sculptures in his oeuvre. With its dynamic, cantilevered pose, sharply faceted limbs, and monumental scale, Seated Nude is a study in contrasts, of repose, vitality, and even tension.
- Henri Matisse
- Seated Nude
- Signed on base: "HM 8"
- 31 × 31 × 14 in. (78.7 × 78.7 × 35.6 cm)
- Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund
- © 2018 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York