Support: Cream(1) wove paper, slightly discolored
Sheet: 28.2 x 38.5 cm (11 1/8 x 15 3/16 in.)
Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1927.300
© Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Henri Matisse was inspired to take up the subject of odalisques after visiting Morocco about a decade before this drawing was made.
During the 1920s, Matisse used various media to represent odalisques -- female slaves or concubines in the harem of a Turkish sultan. Rather than aiming for a realistic representation of these women, however, Matisse used obviously European models, costumed and arranged with Eastern props in his studio. This drawing depicts his favorite sitter during this period, a French woman named Henriette Darricarrère, who appears in culottes with her arms raised behind her head. Matisse made marks with pencil that he then changed and strengthened as he worked, carefully but quickly constructing the figure with soft, rounded forms. He smeared the graphite in places to model and shade with a variety of tones.
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