Archive for January, 2013

Rare Matisse Still Life

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

As many collectors stopped buying art at the onset of the Second World War, hardship came to a great many artists.  Henri Laurens (1885-1954), a close friend of Henri Matisse, found himself without a supporting patron.  Matisse had learned of the financial difficulties facing Laurens and had arranged to meet the latter at his studio in Paris in 1940.  Under the pretext of buying for a collector, Matisse purchased “Femme assise, le pied sur le genou” from 1932.  He brought it back with him to Nice where it remained in his atelier at the Hôtel Régina.  Laurens did not find out about Matisse’s ruse until years later, when he visited the old master with his wife in Nice.

This seated nude by Laurens was introduced in a number of still life drawings by Henri Matisse.  These compositions explore the simple elegance of the sculpture (a comparable drawing sold in France in 2011).  The curves of the woman’s body are echoed by the leaves of plants or by fruits.  In our composition, the arrangement is more complex than in the aformentioned drawing sold at auction last year.  Our horizontal arrangement sets the scene on a table.  It is animated, showing the wrought-iron design of the table, of fruit, of a fruit bow and a small jar.  The overall effect it dynamic, almost rhythmical.

This sculpture by Laurens is not the actual sculpture from the Matisse collection.

It is used only for comparative reasons.


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