Odalisque with Grey Trousers

Odalisque à la culotte grise

In the Odalisque with Grey Trousers the geometry and strong colours play the most important role. The odalisque, painted in sober colours: flesh, green and grey, seems to blend in with the decor. In his account of the Salon d’Automne of 1927, the art critic Jacques Guenne (1896-1945) wondered: “If Matisse’s little painting, with all its stripes in blue, red, violet and yellow, and that huge red wall–hanging with grey motifs, is not the most awful display of cheap wallpapers, then I don’t know what is. Or rather, could it be that the artist is overwhelmed by the delicate colours.”
The large motifs of the fabrics that Matisse stretched out on a collapsible frame, and the palette dominated by red, annihilate all feeling of space. Only the accessories give some feeling of depth. The Louis XV table and the brasero often appear in Derain’s painting. However, it is difficult to situate them in relation to the sofa, which seems to invade their space.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume (1929); Domenica Walter