A drawing of a seated woman by Henri Matisse. Her frank, challenging expression combine with her soft contours and the sinuous lines of her revealing clothes
Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Seated woman, 1919, Artwork: © Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2021. Photo: © The Courtauld

Seated Woman

Henri Matisse

This drawing is a study for a painting that Matisse executed in the summer of 1919. The sitter is Antoinette Arnoux, who modelled for the artist for two years. During this time, he created a substantial body of work featuring Arnoux, who played a key role in the artist’s evolving draughtsmanship.

Here, the focus is on her costume. After visiting Morocco several years earlier, Matisse developed a fascination with North African dress that he would later transform, in concert with his models, into an Orientalist fantasy. Framed by the edges of the chair, Arnoux’s frontal pose and her frank, challenging expression combine with her soft contours and the sinuous lines of her revealing clothes defined by precise lines and disciplined hatching to produce an image of unnerving sensuality.

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

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