Nude with a Scarf (1909; France) by Henri Matisse

Nude with a Scarf - Henri Matisse - 1909; France

Artwork Information

TitleNude with a Scarf
ArtistHenri Matisse
Date1909; France
Art MovementExpressionism

About Nude with a Scarf

The artwork titled “Nude with a Scarf” is a creation by Henri Matisse, dated to 1909. This piece was crafted in France and belongs to the Expressionism movement. The genre of this work is a nude painting (nu), a common subject in the history of art where the human form is the primary focus.

“Nude with a Scarf” displays a female figure reclining in a relaxed pose against a vivid red backdrop. The woman portrayed is depicted with a sense of candid naturalism, characteristic of Matisse’s style during this period. The color palette is reduced to a few striking tones, and the application of paint is visibly gestural, which adds to the expressive quality of the work. The use of red and white contrasts powerfully, drawing attention to the figure and the fluidity of the scarf. Matisse’s brushstrokes convey a spontaneity and vibrancy that were revolutionary at the time, capturing not just the physical form, but suggesting the sitter’s psychological presence. The delineation of the figure is simplified, eschewing meticulous detail for bold contours and planes of color, which makes the figure almost merge with the background, emphasizing the unity of form and setting. The painting is an example of how Matisse and his contemporaries were pushing the boundaries of traditional representational art to capture emotion and subjective experience.

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