"Large Reclining Nude" painting
Matisse's documentation of his creative process
Actually I have this amazing collection of photographs that he had sent to Etta Cone documenting the evolution of this painting. I think she actually purchased the work because he did send her the documentary photographs of the working process and the letter. He chose to send them to her. When you look at the photographs, really notice how he takes the time to experiment with pulling something out, putting something back in, eliminating a feature and then rethinking that and simplifying it. It sheds light on his work in process and his thinking, you know she starts out as this very sort of conventional, traditional women on a coach, she is anatomically correct.
There is a vase of flowers and all the sudden her shape, it just starts to shift and morph and change into something else entirely, it’s slightly recognizable from the first date. But his work in process and what it took to get there, and the fact that he documented. He realized he was doing something very important here, he realized he was capturing something. In photo number nine, all of a sudden he’s inlaid these lines and stripes behind the body and five days later, now they are tiles. Two months later, they are blacked out again, a month later, they are added and the still life becomes completely unrecognizable with a sort of biomorphic shape hovering above it. She’s monumental, but she is still elegant, she is completely streamlined. His striped everything away. It’s like he’s pushing towards this entirely new symbolic language.Back to parent stop