It was in Nice, where he regularly stayed from 1919 onwards, that Matisse rediscovered the light of the Midi. But whereas his earlier stays in the south of France had inspired him to paint landscapes in dazzling colours, in Nice he concentrated on interiors in subtle shades. The female nude in the centre of the room does not appear to be posed, but instead is crossing through the room holding a towel, which brushes along the floor. She wears a turban over her hair, and her facial features are not visible. Similarly, anatomical details like her breasts are decidedly simplified, and only suggested by two spheres. The nude stands in a bedroom decorated with wallpaper with a plant motif echoing the vase of flowers on the table, and its reflection in the oval swan neck mirror on the left of the canvas. The painting is divided into one area of pale colours - yellow, white and pink - and another of more vivid colours - the red of the floor and the bed, and the green of the cushion. We cannot see the landscape through the French window behind the female figure, but a few palm fronds indicate the southern location of the scene.
Provenance: Paul Guillaume en 1928; Domenica Walter