Odalisque with Green Scarf (1926) by Henri Matisse

Odalisque with Green Scarf - Henri Matisse - 1926

Artwork Information

TitleOdalisque with Green Scarf
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementExpressionism,Orientalism

About Odalisque with Green Scarf

The artwork “Odalisque with Green Scarf” is by Henri Matisse, a renowned artist known for his use of color and original draughtsmanship. Created in 1926, this piece falls under the art movement categories of Expressionism and Orientalism. It is a nude painting (nu), a genre frequently explored by Matisse.

In this artwork, a reclining female figure is depicted – an ‘odalisque’, traditionally a harem woman or a concubine in a Turkish seraglio. This figure is captured in a seemingly informal pose, lying on a divan adorned with vividly striped fabric. Her body is draped partially by a green scarf, with the remainder exposed to the viewer. The odalisque’s pose and expression exude a tranquil demeanor, her closed eyes possibly indicating a state of repose.

Behind the central figure are objects and furnishings painted in a similarly bold palette: a large gilt vessel on the left, a side table supporting a collection of objects including a white sculptural element, and books. The surrounding space is defined by an amalgamation of contrasting colors and patterns – the ruddy stripes of the backdrop, the turquoise of the side table, and a glimpse of a grill or latticework that hints at the enclosure of the space.

Henri Matisse’s painting radiates with a sense of decorativeness and heartfelt interpretation of the subject, which is typical of his approach within the Expressionist framework. Meanwhile, the exotic subject matter of the odalisque reflects the Orientalist interest in the East that influenced many European artists of the time.

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