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Henri Matisse encourages his favorite model to become a painter like him

It’s difficult to say exactly what is going on in this supposedly simple 1924 painting by Henri Matisse. In French, it’s called “La séance de trois heures,” which means “Three O’Clock Sitting”. The title refers to a painting session, so you can assume it refers to Matisse’s painting session. But one of the two people in the picture is sitting by the easel, so it could refer to her painting session. And, of course, the third possibility is that Matisse and she were painting the same model at the same time.

“The Three O’Clock Sits” three feet tall, in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The purple-white stripes visible below the window are a staple in many of Matisse’s works from this time, as is the window itself with its signature palm and sea views. It is extremely unusual that men are naked. His presence, combined with the female painter and the implied presence of Matisse herself, creates a compelling dynamic.

Matisse recently moved into a new apartment on the third floor of a building on a square in Nice’s old town, a block or two from the beach. The areas of Nice are like a giant movie set these years as the town competes to be Europe’s answer to Hollywood. As Hilary Spurling In her biography of the artist, Matisse has repeatedly come across extras in costumes, rain made up by firemen’s hoses and directors with loudspeakers.

A trend for orientalism is sweeping silent cinema, and filmmakers are constructing elaborate sets that emulate Moorish palaces, gardens and hares. Matisse finds all of this contagious. “Everything is fake, absurd, wonderful, delicious,” he said of Good period Work.

Mixing fantasy and reality, he also became obsessed with combining different archetypes. Here you can see the design repeating on the wallpaper, the see-through fabric and sequins from North Africa behind the male model, the colorful tapestry where he stands and the artist’s blue and white dress . A “pattern” is also created by duplicating two in the mirror of the armor.

Matisse’s touch is so comfortable, his invention is so transparent (he paints what’s in front of him) that you can ignore the tension created by the complexity of the painting. Only a true master can prevent so many miscellaneous elements from turning into a hot mess of jostling forms and clashing colors. Notice how firmly the black window frame holds the whole thing together.

The woman sitting at the easel was a violinist and dancer named Henriette Darricarrère. From 1920 to 1927, Henriette registered scores for Matisse’s paintings. He first saw her working as a spin-off on various sets in the suburbs of Nice. She was gradually placed in the Matisse family. Years passed and Matisse’s children, who had taken many of his earlier photographs, became more and more absorbed in their own lives, Darricarrère (and sometimes her brothers, one of them). they’re the nude models here) replaced them.

Matisse and Darricarrère also studied with the same violin teacher. They like to play a duet at the end of a painting session. But Darricarrère suffered from debilitating stage fright. When she agreed to be a soloist in a concert at Sunday’s publicity concert, the preparatory work brought her to the point of a mental breakdown. She performed brilliantly but then decided to put more energy into painting. Matisse gave her lessons, and most likely one of them—an afternoon session—he describes here.

Darricarrère’s paintings initially enjoyed great success, both in Nice and in Paris. But she – as well as Matisse’s stepdaughter, Marguerite – suffers from chronic illnesses. Always in and out of the hospital, in 1927 she was too weak to continue posing. She married a school teacher, had a daughter, and that daughter naturally made her debut, like Darricarrère, to Matisse.

Great work, focus

A series of art critic Sebastian Smee’s favorites in permanent collections across the United States. “They are the things that move me. Part of the fun is trying to figure out why. ”

Photo editing and research by Kelsey Ables. Designed and Developed by Junne Alcantara.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/interactive/2021/henri-matisse-nice-three-oclock-sitting/ Henri Matisse encourages his favorite model to become a painter like him

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