Woman Seated in an Armchair

Woman Seated in an Armchair

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)

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After an academic art education and an introduction to Neo-Impressionist color theory with Paul Signac, Matisse became one of the painters called "fauves," or "wild beasts," due to their bold colors and brushwork. Later, in the early 1920s, he abandoned the exuberant palette and distorted spaces of Fauvism to produce more traditional paintings.

Matisse painted this woman, probably a professional model, while living in Nice. The cool, greyed colors, restrained composition and serene mood are typical of his canvases from this time. Only the bright red lipstick and green hair ribbon recall the bold palette of his earlier years, to which he soon returned.

From Matisse to his dealer, Bernheim-Jeune, by contractual agreement in February 1922 (B-J no. 22961; B-J photo no. 4200, February 1922);{1}
G. Bénard, Paris, in March 1922;{2}
Sale at (Hotel Drouot, Paris) in 1933.{3}
(Georges Bernheim et Cie, Paris);{4}
Consigned to (Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York) in 1939;{5}
(Jacques Seligmann & Co., New York) in 1942;{6}
Theodore Schempp by 1944;{7}
Purchased by Caroline Marmon Fesler [1878-1960], Indianapolis, in 1944;{8}
By her bequest to the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1961 (61.38).

{1} Guy-Patrice and Michel Dauberville, Henri Matisse chez Bernheim-Jeune, Paris 1995, vol. 2, no. 513 (ill).
{2}Hotel Drouot, Paris, Collection G.B…, Catalogue des Tableaux Modernes, Aquarelles, Gouaches, Pastels, June 9, 1933, lot. no. 59 (ill.). This was the liquidation sale of Bénard Frères, a Parisian bank.
{3}The transfer of this painting, then entitled “Figure dans (un) intérieur,” from Bernheim through to Schempp is detailed in the Jacques Seligmann & Co. Records available digitally at http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/jacques-seligmann--co-records-9936 [captured January 2013]. For Bernheim’s ownership, see in particular Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Jacques Seligmann & Co. Records, 1904-1978, Box 14, Folder 3, Frame 10.
{4}For Durand-Ruel’s role, see in particular Ibid., Frames 20-21.
{5}See Ibid., Box 206, folder 10, frames 6 and 7 (photo of painting), also Box 86, folder 10, frame 46 (correspondence between Seligmann & Co and Schempp), and Box 312, Folder 1, frame 27 (invoice to Schempp).
{6} In the 1940s Schempp bought paintings in tandem with Seligmann, or on consignment from this dealer.
{7} See Bill of Sale, dated 14 November 1944, in IMA Historical File (61.38).

Object Information

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)
creation date
about 1922
oil on canvas
21-5/8 x 18-3/8 in. (canvas)
30-1/4 x 26-1/4 x 2-5/8 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Signed lower right: Henri Matisse
accession number
credit line
Bequest of Mrs. James W. Fesler
© Henri Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS)
European Painting and Sculpture 1800-1945
deaccessioned on
transfer notes
Transferred to Christie's New York; To be offered at Impressionist & Modern Art 8 October 2020 (lot TBD)