Katherine Rothkopf

Certainly the first thing to look at is the figure of the model, look at the changes that you can see very clearly, the change in the shoulder, particularly to your right, the way he has put her hands together. She is sort of cuddling herself, making this beautiful form. There is sort of a harmony to her figure that even though we can see how she’s changed, if you look in her face very clearly, you can see that her eyes have moved in their original spot. And this is the part of growth that must have taken place, like a plant getting bigger. I love the underside of her hat with the sort of green that comes through so clearly combined with the yellow.

And really even the dress, you know we call it the yellow dress, but it certainly is not made out of a lot of yellow, plain flat yellow paint. It’s filled with color and shadow throughout it, and so carefully and beautifully painted. What’s also fun is to look at this red tile, which appears in many of his other paintings. This is his studio, this is where he lived in Nice and the red tile floors that gives you that sort of geometric pattern combined with her organic shape. It just makes her very beautiful and a pleasing combination. To the right of her figure, you see these yellow orange shutters that have this great texture and intensive geometry and then what looks to be a curtain perhaps in the blue and then the wallpaper or some sort of a texture on the wall to the far left.

Wallpaper, window, shutters, curtains, window and more wallpaper, it’s just absolutely beautiful and plays with the sense of color and some very geometric shapes, against much more organic shape and it really just makes for a beautiful background. For Matisse, to get the color right, to get the combination say in the wallpaper, where we have all sorts of colors, purples and greens and reds and black, he really wants it to be so right and he just kept doing it over and over again. And it’s hard to say why this pleased him more than what he did a week earlier and we of course don’t know what it looked like a week earlier in his creative process.

But he loved the idea of combining cool and warm colors together, because it sort of gives a visual energy and it makes, when you look at it, you may not even be aware of it, but it does sort of give you a little charge. And I think for him getting it just right and pushing himself until he was complete, was something he did over and over again. And I think it’s just marvelous.

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