The Artist and his Model Henri Matisse Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Artist and his Model by Henri Matisse was painted in 1919 and depicts the artist in his improvised studio painting a female nude model. As with many of Henri Matisse's paintings, the initial viewing can seem chaotic and disordered, but on closer inspection, it is clear to see that every object has its definite place and meaning.

The colours of The Artist and his Model by Henri Matisse are somewhat muted, giving the sensation of a dreamlike, soft and safe space. Despite the central female being completely nude and splayed in a chair, there is nothing voyeuristic about the work. In fact, the softness and suppleness of the lines and colour choices make it seem as if both figures, the artist and the model, as well as all the other accoutrement in the room, are inexplicably connected. The Artist and his Model by Henri Matisse was painted on a smaller canvas than some of his previous works, which was a practical choice the artist had to make due to downsizing his studio, usually setting up his easel to work in hotel rooms or the like.

Nevertheless, the smaller sizing of the canvas does not cramp his work, but merely allows for Matisse to create a more linear structure that still evokes an emotional response in the traditional Expressionist style. By the time that The Artist and his Model by Henri Matisse was painted, the artist had moved away from the harsh lines favoured by the Neo Cubism movement. Instead, Matisse returned to capturing the human form with soft brushstrokes and a more seductive aspect for the viewer. The flowers dotted in vases around the room help to make the painting feel very alive and fresh, whilst the open window and dreamlike colours give the feeling of a clean spring breeze, all of which help to make The Artist and his Model by Henri Matisse very evocative.

The Artist and his Model by Henri Matisse may be a rather conventional subject matter, but the skill of the artist in question manages to transform this somewhat trite pairing into something much more extraordinary, with the fabric of the chair, curtains and even the cushion at the feet of the female nude making the brushwork seem soft enough to touch. Female nudes would continue to be a popular subject for Matisse, and appear in much of his work throughout the artist's 65 year career.