Nu Drapé étendu [Reclining Nude with a Drape] stands out from the Odalisques series because of its great simplification of decor reduced to a red curtain, a neutral white sheet that covers the sofa and one or two cushions. As the title suggests, for his nudes Matisse emphasised the woman's body more than the surroundings. The contours are strongly outlined in black. The white bloomers serve as a pretext for adding volume. The painter accentuates the folds of the model's right side that are highlighted in pink and echo the folds of the cloth draping her hips. The composition is full of angles: those formed by the elbows and knees, and those of the cushions. Even the facial features are more angular than usual.
The nude is depicted in a pose that Matisse was fond of: legs drawn in, arms lifted above the head. The posture with arms raised brings out the volume of the breasts. Matisse painted another version of this nude entitled Nu étendu [Reclining Nude], with the same decor but a different pose that brings out the curves of the female body much more.
Provenance: Paul Guillaume (1929) ; Domenica Walter