Odalisque on the Terrace (1922) by Henri Matisse

Odalisque on the Terrace - Henri Matisse - 1922

Artwork Information

TitleOdalisque on the Terrace
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementFauvism

About Odalisque on the Terrace

The artwork titled “Odalisque on the Terrace” was created by the artist Henri Matisse in 1922 and is a fine example of the genre painting tradition within the Fauvism art movement. Matisse, a pivotal figure in modern art, infused this piece with the characteristic bold color and expressive line work synonymous with Fauvism.

In “Odalisque on the Terrace,” Henri Matisse depicts an intimate scene placed within what appears to be an interior space opening onto a terrace with a sea view. The artwork features two female figures in a state of repose and contemplation. The woman to the left is reclining casually on her side, propped up by richly patterned cushions and fabric, her figure relaxed and adorned in a flowing garment that envelops her form. Her posture suggests a peaceful slumber or rest, as she faces away from the viewer, disconnected from the world around her.

The second woman, seated to the right, serves as a counterbalance to the first. She is depicted seated upright with an alert posture, holding a long rod or staff, wearing draped attire that reveals her upper body. Her gaze is directed away from her companion and out towards the sea, or perhaps beyond the boundaries of the canvas, evoking a sense of introspection or awaiting. In between the figures, one can observe still life elements, including a vase with flowers on a small table, adding to the serene domesticity of the scene.

The background reveals a balcony or terrace, bounded by a railing that separates the interior from the seascape beyond. The sea is rendered with simplified horizontal blue strokes, implying calmness and vastness. Matisse’s use of color in this work demonstrates his Fauvist approach, with unnatural shades and hues employed to capture emotion and atmosphere rather than realistic depiction. The brushwork varies, allowing some areas of the canvas to be filled with dense color, while others remain more loosely defined, contributing to an overall harmonious yet lively composition.

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