Women with Sofa or The Divan

Femmes au canapé ou Le Divan

Captivated by the light of the Midi region in Southern France, Henri Matisse often stayed at the Hôtel de la Méditerranée in Nice from 1916 onwards. There he developed a theme for which he already had a fondness: the opening of the slightly oppressing interior onto the liberating outside world, through a door or a window. Here the painter juxtaposes two views in the perspective by painting his hotel room. The first view is directed towards the floor, where the tiling gives an indication of the surface but not of the depth. The second is a vista looking out into the distance through the window. The painter thus manages to reconcile two contradictory directions and emotions.
The artist has taken great care in directing the viewer's gaze. The triangle composition, tempered by a large red curtain on the right, leads to a point in the sky, beyond the window. On the left, the oval mirror on the dressing table echoes the back of the chair. There is no reflection, so as not to distract the viewer's gaze. Likewise, on the right, the two female figures are more or less sketched. The divan has been repainted in order to get the best angle.
The red and green colours - of varying degrees of intensity, warmth and coldness - reflect these contradictory emotions.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume en 1924; Domenica Walter