Male Speaker 1

Katherine Rothkopf of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Henri Matisse

Dear Mademoiselle Cone, I’m sending you some photographs representing various states of work in progress, the states of a painting. Reclining nude, the dates of the different states are indicated on the photos. I hope that these different works gives you a little amusement and my goal will be realized. September 1935, Nice.

Katherine Rothkopf

When Matisse came to Baltimore in 1930 and saw the collection, you know he saw the Blue Nude for the first time in many years. And when he returned to easel painting, after taking that three-year break, after he finished the Yellow Dress, he did the mural, he did his first illustrated book and then he came back to painting. And the following year he starts to work on the large Reclining Nude as, I feel very strongly, a response to having seen the Blue Nude for the first time in many, many years. He started thinking about her and thinking about his style, his new sense of lyricism and light and color and pattern that was so different. And by that point he knew, Etta’s great interest in him as a fully creative artist, she was interested in his paintings, his sculptures, his drawings, his prints and he had come to the Cone apartment and he had seen what she had that and so he really, I believe, painted this painting for her. And so he sent her two letters with the photographs and she certainly could not have resisted it and she bought it the next year.

Male Speaker 1

What’s going on with the sense of space and proportion in this painting, press the green button to hear from Jay Fisher of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Matisse exhaustively documented his own creative process as he worked on this painting, to hear Erika Holmquist-Wall of the MIA explain, select the red button. For Matisse’s thoughts on creating harmonious relationships between colors, press the yellow button.