Henri Matisse

This woman is one of two in Matisse’s painting La musique, which he also completed in 1939. Though called a study, the drawing was an exercise in invention and variation, a way for Matisse to organize his thoughts and clarify his means before returning to the painting. There is a tactile quality to Matisse’s exploration, seen in the velvety charcoal deposits within the dark outline of the model’s features, her softly smudged skin and hair, and the brilliant areas of white left to describe her dress.

Henri Matisse
French, 1869–1954
Study of a Woman, 1939
Richard and Mary L. Gray, promised gift to the Art Institute of Chicago
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
© 2021 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics Inc.