Yellow odalisque (1926) by Henri Matisse

Yellow odalisque - Henri Matisse - 1926

Artwork Information

TitleYellow odalisque
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

About Yellow odalisque

The artwork “Yellow Odalisque” by Henri Matisse, created in 1926, exemplifies the Post-Impressionism art movement with its genre rooted in nude painting. It currently resides within the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, located in Ottawa, Canada.

Henri Matisse, an artist renowned for his vibrant use of color and fluid draughtsmanship, presents a reclining nude figure that dominates the composition with an unguarded and relaxed posture. The figure is situated against a backdrop of vivid patterns and hues, portraying a rich tapestry of drapery and decorative screens. Matisse skillfully integrates flat planes of color with bold outlines, an approach that aligns with the artistic innovations of Post-Impressionism, which sought to express more symbolic and emotive content than its Impressionistic predecessors. The use of the color yellow in both the title and the prominent elements of the artwork reflects Matisse’s focus on color as a principal conveyer of feeling and composition. The ‘odalisque,’ a term referring to a female slave or concubine in a harem, traditionally an exoticized figure in Western art, is depicted here in a manner that draws attention to the sensuality of form and the pure aesthetic pleasure of the scene, free from explicit narrative context.

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