Henri Matisse

Woman in Profile

Woman in Profile
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Henri Matisse
Portraiture, Drawings, Lead pencil, 28x38.2 cm
Origin: France, 1935

The precise contour, which seems almost in one twist to outline the head twisted in profile, is so pure, so free of everything extraneous, that it recalls the precision of Greek vase painting. The expressive potential of the black line and white surface is fully brought out by Matisse. With just a few quick movements of the pencil he brings to life the flexing nostrils, the short thick twists of hair, the small ear. The white surface which falls within the lines hints at volume and seems to become the smooth firm skin. Whilst apparently relaxed and improvised, the drawing is at once classically clear and perfect, which could only be the result of long study of the model and a gradual movement towards expressive simplicity.

Source of entry: gift of Lydia Delectorskaya, 1968

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