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
Not on display
© Succession H Matisse. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Referenced in 9 publications
Nicolas Draffin, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Prints & Drawings', pp 109–24., Sydney, 1988, 120, illus p 120.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pp 78–92, Sydney, 1999, p 87, illus p 87.
Peter Raissis', Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'European works on paper', p 56, Sydney, May 2003, p 56, illus p 56.
Judith Wright, Look, 'Building the Collection', pp 6, Melbourne, Apr 1999, p 6, illus p 6.
Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Sydney, 2010, illus p 153.
Henri Matisse, catalogue raisonne de l'oeuvre grave, 1983, Vol 1, p 248, no 318, illus p 249.
Matisse, Brisbane, 1995, p 185, illus p 185. no 35, as 'Petit bois clair'
Fin de Siècle, Sydney, Jan 1994, np. no catalogue numbers
Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994, np. no catalogue numbers