Three-quarter-length nude, with arms raised
31 Dec 1869 - 03 Nov 1954
At one time Matisse was regarded as being as radical as Picasso. During the period in which he made this and other memorable prints, he was the acknowledged, if reluctant, leader of the fauvist movement. Rather than an organised school, fauvism represented a propensity in art that took late impressionist and post-impressionist pictoriality towards something rawer and more expressive. Historically, fauvism is a bridge to expressionism. Brutal reductions of form as much as brilliance of colour characterised the style. This black-on-white woodcut is thus a wholly fauvist work. Despite the simplicity of the composition, Matisse convinces the viewer of two things: first, that this is a record of a real and fully-rounded human presence studied from life; and, conversely, that it is no more than a terse and primitivistic arrangement of lines deployed across a surface. The tension between these extremes, and the fact of their simultaneous functioning, contributes to the almost fetishistic status of the work.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.
Nu de trois quarts, les bras levés Petit bois clair
woodcut on brown paper
22/50. From an edition of 50 plus 2 trial proofs
34.4 x 26.7 cm image; 46.3 x 29.2 cm sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date
Signed l.l. image, [incised block] "HM" and l.c. sheet, pencil "Henri - Matisse...". Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1976
© Succession H Matisse. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Shown in 6 exhibitions
Fin de Siècle: posters prints drawings from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Jan 1994–13 Mar 1994
Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jul 1994–25 Sep 1994
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 29 Mar 1995–16 May 1995
- National Gallery of Australia, Parkes 27 May 1995–09 Jul 1995
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 20 Jul 1995–03 Sep 1995
Matisse: The art of drawing:
- Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle 14 Apr 2000–11 Jun 2000
- Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns 23 Jun 2000–06 Aug 2000
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 18 Aug 2000–01 Oct 2000
- Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 20 Oct 2000–10 Dec 2000
- Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria 03 Feb 2001–18 Mar 2001
Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Jun 2010–19 Sep 2010
Matisse and the moderns, 25 Apr 2015–25 Oct 2015
Referenced in 9 publications
Nicolas Draffin, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Prints & Drawings', pp 109–24., Sydney, 1988, 120, illus p 120.
Marguerite Duthuit-Matisse and Claude Duthuit, Henri Matisse, catalogue raisonne de l'oeuvre grave, 1983, Vol 1, p 248, no 318, illus p 249.
Renée Free, Fin de Siècle, Sydney, Jan 1994, np. no catalogue numbers
Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994, np. no catalogue numbers
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pp 78–92, Sydney, 1999, p 87, illus p 87.
Terence Maloon, Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Sydney, 2010, illus p 153.
Peter Raissis', Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'European works on paper', p 56, Sydney, May 2003, p 56, illus p 56.
Caroline Turner and Roger Benjamin (Editors), Matisse, Brisbane, 1995, p 185, illus p 185. no 35, as 'Petit bois clair'
Judith Wright, Look, 'Building the Collection', pp 6, Melbourne, Apr 1999, p 6, illus p 6.