A Henri Matisse, whatever he painted, what interested him was painting itself, color relationships and their strength. That is why he is considered the great master of Fauvism. But he was also interested in the form, and even in the content. And one of his favorites was the female body which he loved to surround in an atmosphere of oriental tone and luxury. As he said, a great excuse to "paint nudes, making sure they are not artificial."
Odalisque with Drum by Matisse
An example is this work from 1926 that today is housed in the MoMA in New York. With it he continues to investigate the structures of forms and compositions, and resorts to colors of enormous density. That is the magic of the painting, that without a doubt the strong color attracts attention but the volume of that naked woman sitting in the chair, elegant and provocative at the same time, also has a prodigious role.
The glowing red on the floor is enormously powerful and transfers it to the seat, in vertical green and yellow stripes. In other words, it is creating a framework between pure and complementary colors, on which the incarnated nude of the woman stands out even more, with games of light, shadow and brightness.
Furthermore, although color is king in Matisse's painting, drawing, outlines and silhouettes take on an unusual value.
He himself confirmed it and wrote that “we must pursue thedrawing of the line, the point where you must enter or die. And always be sure of its origin: this must be done on the model. It helps a lot to imagine a central axis in the direction of the general movement and build everything around it, curves and contours can detract from the volume.” And of course if we look at how this woman is painted and drawn, without a doubt it is a materialization of her precepts. Because the search for her volume is more than successful
It seems a bit fast, but it is very worked by the author. For example, the woman's pose is the result of a long study. To start with because she ties into some classic poses. In this case, with an arm that frames his head, and with his legs in different positions as in a movement sequence that allows him to draw an almost complete leg, as if he were turning it 360 degrees to capture the whole and capture it in volume.
In short, we see here a Matisse with a light appearance, painting almost an entertainment, but without a doubt it is a pictorial work of great quality.