Henri Matisse - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 13, 2023 | Phillips
  • “Rodin apart, it could be said that the most significant contributions to the evolution of modern sculpture before the advent of cubism were made by two painters – Degas and Matisse.”
    —Herbert Read

    With its confident, serpentine sense of line and remarkably plastic treatment of form, Henri Matisse’s Grand Nu accroupi (Olga) is a powerful example of the painter’s skill and strength as a sculptor, a medium which allowed him to grapple with both tradition and innovation as he continued to push his practice in new directions. First modelled in 1909-1910, and later cast in an edition of ten in 1952, the present work evolved from an earlier series of smaller sculptural pieces that Matisse had started working on in 1908, including Petit nu accoupi avec bras and Nu accroupi, a version of which is now held in the Musée Matisse in Nice. During this most radical and revolutionary phase of the artist’s career, he alternated between painting and sculpture as a way of exploring ‘problems of form and movement which he found difficult to solve in the two-dimensional medium of painting.’i


    Edward Steichen, Portrait of Henri Matisse with 'La Serpentine', 1909. Image: Courtesy of the RISD Museum, Providence, RI, Artwork: © Estate of Edward Steichen. Artists' Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2023


    Matisse, Sculpture, and the Body


    More complex and sensitively rendered than the earlier sculptural works, Grand Nu accroupi (Olga) highlights the central role of the body in Matisse’s sculptural experiments, and the ways in which this would go on to inform the treatment of form and space in his painting after this point. Importantly, as the curators of the 2007 exhibition Matisse: Painter as Sculptor stressed, before 1908, ‘Matisse had almost exclusively represented the human form either standing or reclining’, radically adapting this stance with the commencement of this sequence of works featuring a seated or crouched female nude, her knees and arms bent and held in a more dramatic, cantilevered tension.ii In this more dynamic arrangement, Matisse was able to more fully explore the interplay of rhythm and movement, the exaggerated twist of the spine endowing the figure with a profoundly muscular and vital energy.


    Working on a larger scale than he had with the earlier, hand-held works Matisse was also able to correct ‘the development that caused the first series of crouching torsos to fold progressively in on themselves.’ The remarkable openness of the figure here not only introduces new and more complex contortions into the artist’s repertoire - allowing him to escape the limitations of mass and volume in favour of a flowing, arabesque line - but lays essential foundations for the elasticity that he would achieve in his later sculptural nudes. It is in Grand Nu accroupi (Olga) especially that we find evidence of Matisse’s guidance to his students that ‘arms are like rolls of clay, but forearms are also like ropes because torsion can be placed on them.’iii Importantly, while the earlier, smaller pieces were modelled from photographs, employing a much vaguer treatment of the face, head, and other distinguishing features, Grand Nu accroupi (Olga) was modelled from life, the Russian artist Olga Markusovna Meerson ‘the only woman reckless enough to pose nude for Matisse in the years before the First World War.’vi


    Artist and Model

    “[Olga Meerson] is purely an artist, and could never live at peace except through her art.”
    —Henri Matisse

    A young, ambitious, and prodigiously talented art student nicknamed ‘Mlle Russia’ by Gertrude Stein, Olga Meerson first met Matisse in 1908, the same year that she presented a selection of bold and confidently executed paintings at the official Paris Salon.v Of Russian Jewish ancestry, Meerson was described as a striking beauty with thick auburn hair and an indomitable personality. Having been a member of Wassily Kandinsky’s Phalanx Class alongside artists such as Gabriele Münter, Meerson travelled to France, arriving in Paris in time to witness firsthand the scandalised reactions to the infamous first presentation of Fauve paintings at the 1905 Salon des Indépendents.


    Convincing the older master of her commitment to innovative modern modes of painting, she veered away from the more predictable path of society portraiture and academic painting that had been open to her, taking up a position as his pupil the same year. Hans Purrmann described the rigmarole of these classes, where Matisse ‘would strip each work down to its bare essence, examine what was left for any trace of individual expression, and then devote himself to clarifying and strengthening this residuum.’vi Despite the emotional intensity of these sessions and her own nagging sense of self-doubt, Meerson’s painting seemed to thrive during this period, producing some of the most remarkable and shocking works presented in the 1911 Salon des Indépendents as her style became more immediate and expressive, whilst retaining the early facility for colour, composition, and pattern that had first caught Matisse’s attention. A particular champion of her portraiture, Matisse underscored Meerson’s ‘ability to catch a likeness, a rich feeling for colour and a generous sense of design’ - qualities clearly demonstrated in her 1911 portrait of the older painter.vii Matisse was famously reluctant to sit for his own portrait, and yet here she captures him in a disarmingly intimate and unguarded manner, stretched out across a chequered textile ground, his head propped on his hand as he reads the book rested in front of him.

    Olga Meerson, Henri Matisse, 1911, Private Collection. Image: The History Collection / Alamy Stock Photo


    Close to both Matisse and his wife, Meerson was a frequent visitor to his home and studio at Issy-Les-Moulineaux during this time, even holidaying with the couple at Collioure in the summer of 1911. During this period of intense creative exchange, both artists painted portraits of each other, Matisse’s Olga Meerson, now held in the collection of The Museum of Fine Arts Boston a particularly striking record of this fruitful period. Although the precise nature of their relationship remains ambiguous, the intensity of her feelings for Matisse seems clear; the summer was not only productive and happy, but proved to be decisive for both, with Matisse going on to paint some of his most iconic early works during this period, including his suite of Studio paintings which proudly feature some of the sculptural pieces that were preoccupying the artist during this time.


    As Matisse’s biographer, Hilary Spurling has described, Meerson ‘personified the pride, courage and resilience that he responded to all his life at the deepest instinctual level in his female models’, qualities that reverberate across both the painted portrait and the present work.viii However, while both present the sitter with clarity and a powerful sense of self-possession, the rigidity of Meerson’s pose in the portrait - carriage erect, long neck extended and her hands clasped firmly in her lap – gives way to a much more fluid and relaxed sense of line and sensual corporeality in Grand Nu accroupi (Olga). This more languid and sensual treatment of the body would go on to inform Matisse's treatment of the nude going forward, reappearing in his late, great innovation of the paper cutouts in the crouched pose of his iconic Nu bleu series, tellingly embarked on in the early years of the 1950s, just as the artist returned to these earlier sculptural experiments to arrange their casting. Restlessly inventive, Matisse turned to the body and sculptural representation to further his most radical experiments in the treatment of form, as much in the early stages of his career as at its very end, giving weight to his assertion that ‘All things have their decided physical character […] In addition to the sensations one derives from a drawing, a sculpture must invite us to handle it as an object; just so the sculptor must feel, in making it, the particular demands for volume and mass. The smaller the bit of sculpture, the more the essentials of form must exist.’ix


    [Left] Henri Matisse, Olga Meerson, 1911, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Image: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston / Bridgeman Images, Artwork: © Succession H. Matisse / DACS 2023
    [Right] Henri Matisse, Blue Nude IV, 1952, Musée Matisse, Nice. Image: © François Fernandez / Musée Matisse, Artwork: © Succession H. Matisse / DACS 2023

    Collector’s Digest

    • An undisputed Master of Modern Art, Henri Matisse is best known for his paintings and works on paper, including his celebrated cutouts which formed the basis of a major retrospective at London’s Tate Modern in 2014. Turning to sculpture to explore problems relating to form and movement, Matisse’s works in this medium are of supreme importance, not only in relation to his oeuvre, but to development of modern art itself.

    • The present work is one of a numbered edition of 10, with other examples now held in some of the most prestigious institutional and private collections worldwide, with one example held in the Kunsthaus Zurich. Versions of Grand Nu accroupi (Olga) have been included in major Matisse exhibitions internationally.



    i Herbert Read, Modern Sculpture: A Concise History, London, 1964, p. 31.

    ii Heather MacDonald, Jed Morse, Oliver Shell, 'Seated and Crouching Nudes', in Matisse: Painter as Sculptor, exh. cat., The Baltimore Museum of Art, 2007,  p. 180.

    iii Henri Matisse, quoted in Herbert Read, Modern Sculpture: A Concise History, London, 1964, p. 42. 

    iv Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse, 1909-1954, London, 2006, p. 75.

    v Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse, 1909-1954, London, 2006, p. 16.

    vi Hans Purrmann, quoted in Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse, 1909-1954, London, 2206, p. 23.

    vii Henri Matisse, quoted in Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse, 1909-1954, London, 2006, p. 16.

    viii Henri Matisse, quoted in Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse, 1909-1954, London, 2006, p. 19.

    ix Henri Matisse Lecture, recorded by Sarah Stein and quoted in Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse, 1909-1954, London, 2006, p. 42.

    • Provenance

      Pelle Börjesson, Gothenburg
      Lee V. Eastman, New York (acquired by 1984)
      Christie’s, New York, 1 November 2005, lot 34
      Private Collection (acquired at the above sale)
      Christie’s, New York, 9 May 2007, lot 48
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Henri Matisse: Tableaux du Maroc et Sculpture, 14 – 19 April 1913, no. 15, n.p. (another example exhibited)
      Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Exposition de la collection particulière de M. Paul Guillaume, May – June 1929 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Brummer Gallery, Sculpture by Henri Matisse, 5 January – 7 February 1931, no. 23, n.p. (another example exhibited)
      Kunsthalle Basel, Henri Matisse, 9 August – 15 September 1931, no. 115, p. 21 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Buchholz Gallery (no. 21); Arts Club of Chicago (no. 17), Sculptures by Painters, 31 October 1939 – 27 January 1940 (another example exhibited)
      Richmond, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., 16 January – 11 May 1941, no. 118, pp. 71-72, n.p. (another example illustrated and exhibited, n.p.)
      Lucerne, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Henri Matisse, 9 July – 2 October 1949, no. 288, p. 49 (another example exhibited)
      Kunsthaus Zürich, Europäische Kunst 13.-20. Jahrhundert aus Zürcher Sammlungen, 6 June – 13 August 1950, no. 31 (another example exhibited)
      Paris, Maison de la Pensée, Henri Matisse – Chapelle, Peintures, Dessins, Sculptures, 5 July – 24 September 1950, no. 93, p. 24 (another example exhibited)
      Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Die Plastiksammlung Werner Bär, 16 September – 11 November 1951, no. 64, p. 13 (another example exhibited)
      Knokke-Heist, Grande Salle des Expositions de « La Réserve », Matisse, 12 July – 31 August 1952, no. 35, p. 33 (another example exhibited)
      London, The Tate Gallery, An exhibition of the sculpture of Matisse and 3 paintings with studies, 9 January – 22 February 1953, no. 27 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Curt Valentin Gallery, The Sculpture of Henri Matisse, 10 – 28 February 1953, no. 19, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glypotek, Henri Matisse: Skulpturer, Malerier, Farveklip, 6 November – 6 December 1953, no. 26, pp. 15, 27 (illustrated, p. 27)
      Rotterdam, Museum Boymans, Matisse, Bronzen, Tekeningen, Schilderijen, Schetsen, 16 April – 8 June 1954, no. 26, n.p. (illustrated, n.p.)
      Ottawa, The National Gallery of Canada, Matisse: Sculptures, Paintings, Drawings, 1954, no. 26, n.p. (another example exhibited)
      The Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, Matisse: Sculptures, Paintings and Drawings, 18 September – 16 October 1955, no. 26 (another example exhibited)
      Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Matisse: Bronzes and Drawings, 1 – 30 November 1955, no. 26 (another example exhibited)
      Kunsthaus Zürich, Skulpturen von Malern von Daumier bis Picasso, 26 October – 30 November 1956, no. 76, p. 13 (another example exhibited)
      New York, World House Galleries, The Struggle for New Form, 22 January – 23 February 1957, no. 51, n.p. (another example exhibited)
      Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, Henri Matisse: Apollon, 4 – 23 September 1957, no. 27 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Fine Arts Associates, Sculpture 1880 – 1957, 10 December 1957 – 11 January 1958, no. 42, n.p., p. 67 (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      Liège, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Apollon, Collection Theodor Ahrenberg, 3 May – 31 July 1958, no. 152 (another example exhibited)
      London, Hanover Gallery, Giacometti, Marini, Matisse, Moore, 24 June – 13 September 1958, no. 32, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      New York, Fine Arts Associates, Paintings, Watercolours, Sculpture, Summer – Autumn 1958, no. 54 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Fine Arts Associates, Henri Matisse: Sculpture, Drawings, 25 November – 20 December 1958, no. 13, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      New York, Fine Arts Associates, Summer-Fall 1959, Summer – Autumn 1959, no. 111 (another example exhibited)
      The Detroit Institute of Arts; Milwaukee Art Center; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; Kansas City, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art; The Museum of Fine Arts of Houston; Los Angeles County Museum; San Francisco, M. H. De Young Memorial Museum; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; The Art Gallery of Toronto, Sculpture in Our Time, Collected by Joseph H. Hirshorn, 5 May 1959 – 31 October 1960, no. 159, pp. 70, 74 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 74)
      Kunsthaus Zürich, Henri Matisse: Das plastiche Werk, 14 July – 12 August 1959, no. 41, p. 18 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
      Kunsthaus Zürich, Zwei Zürcher Sammlungen. Werner Bär, Plastik, Kurt Sponagel, Graphik, 19 August – 19 September 1959, no. 75, p.19 (another example exhibited)
      Kunstmuseum Bern, Plastiksammlung Werner Bär, 26 September – 15 November 1959, no. 75, p. 19 (another example exhibited)
      Gothenburg, Konsthallen, Henri Matisse: Ur Theodor Ahrenbergs Samling, 16 March – 10 April 1960, no. 190, p. 17 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Knoedler Gallery, The Colin Collection: Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, 12 April – 14 May 1960, no. 113, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse, 11 July – 15 September 1961, no. 132, p. 31 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Modern Sculpture from the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection, 3 October 1962 – 6 January 1963, no. 296, pp. 81, 222 (another exhibited and illustrated, p. 81)
      The Hague, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Verzameling Bär, Zürich, Beelhouwwerken en Tekeningen, 20 October – 21 November 1965, no. 69, p. 14 (another example exhibited)
      University of California, Los Angeles; The Art Institute of Chicago; Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Henri Matisse Retrospective, 5 January – 26 June 1966, no. 115, pp. 131, 194 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 131)
      New Hampshire, Hopkins Centre Art Galleries, Dartmouth College, Sculpture in Our Century: Selections from the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection, 25 May – 9 July 1967, no. 37, p. 29 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
      Saint-Paul de Vence, Fondation Maeght, À la rencontre de Matisse, July - September 1969, no. 100, p. 45, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      Paris, Grand Palais, Henri Matisse: Exposition du Centenaire, April - September 1970, no. 237, pp. 100, 283 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 283)
      New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Centre; Berkeley, University Art Museum, University of California, The Sculpture of Matisse, 24 February – 29 October 1972, no. 41, pp. 20-21, 52 (illustrated, p. 21)
      Nice, Musée Matisse, Henri Matisse: Sculptures, 29 July – 29 September 1974, no. 38, pp. 12, 30 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 30)
      New York, Robert Elkon Gallery, Twentieth Century Masters, 5 October – 7 November 1974, no. 28, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      Paris, Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Henri Matisse: Dessins et sculpture, 29 May – 7 September 1975, no. 203, pp. 218-219 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 219)
      New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Matisse in the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, 25 October 1978 – 30 January 1979, no. 42, p. 189 (illustrated)
      Tokyo, The Ueno Royal Museum; Osaka, The National Museum of Art; The Hakone Open-Air Museum; Kamakura, The Museum of Modern Art; Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art, Sculpture by Master Painters, 21 April – 21 October 1979, no. 23, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      Basel, Wenkenpark Riehen, Skulptur im 20. Jahrhundert, 10 May – 14 September 1980, p. 46 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
      Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art; Kyoto, The National Museum of Modern Art, Matisse, 20 March – 19 July 1981, no. 100, pp. 131, 223-224 (another example exhibited and illustrated, pp. 131, 224)
      Edinburgh, City Art Centre; London, Hayward Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery, The Sculpture and Drawings of Henri Matisse, 3 August 1984 – 24 March 1985, no. 43, n.p. and p. 147 (another example illustrated, n.p.)
      New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Henri Matisse: A Retrospective, 24 September 1992 – 12 January 1993, no. 140, pp. 214, 478 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 214)
      Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Henri Matisse 1904-1917, 25 February – 21 June 1993, no. 87, pp. 292-293 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 293)
      Shiga, The Museum of Modern Art; Tokyo, Odakyu Museum; Iwaki City Art Museum; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, The Human Figure Interpreted: Modern Sculpture from the Hirshhorn Museum, 1 July – 10 December 1995, no. 24, pp. 72, 127 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 72)
      New York, C&M Arts, Henri Matisse: Sculpture, 23 September – 12 December 1998, no. 13, n.p. (another example exhibited and illustrated, n.p.)
      Valencia, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Henri Matisse, 21 October 2003 – 11 January 2004, pp. 57, 182-183, 272 (another example exhibited and illustrated, pp. 57, 182-183)
      Düsseldorf, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (no. 55, pp. 144, 371 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 144)); Basel, Fondation Beyeler (no. 31, pp. 68, 189 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 68)), Henri Matisse: Figure, Color, Space, 29 October 2005 – 9 July 2006
      Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Matisse: painter as sculptor, 21 January 2007 – 3 February 2008, no. 67, pp. 183, 271 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 183)
      Duisburg, LehmbruckMuseum, Kneeling Woman, 100 Years: Wilhelm Lehmbruck with Matisse, Brancusi, Debussy, Archipenko, Rodin, Nijinsky in Paris 1911, 24 September 2011 – 22 January 2012, p. 235 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Eykyn Maclean, Matisse and the Model, 28 October – 10 December 2011, no. 4, pp. 10-11, 77 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 11)
      Vienna, Albertina, Matisse and the Fauves, 20 September 2013 – 12 January 2014, no. 137, pp. 202, 323 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 202)
      Kunsthaus Zürich; Nice, Musée Matisse, Matisse: Métamorphoses, 30 August 2019 – 6 May 2020, no. 23, pp. 16, 48-49, 213 (Brummer Gallery, New York, 1931 installation view illustrated, p. 16; another exhibited and illustrated, p. 49)

    • Literature

      Waldemar George, La Grande Peinture Contemporaine à la collection Paul Guillaume, Paris, 1926, pp. 170, 188 (another example illustrated, p. 170)
      Carl Einstein, Die Kunst des 20 Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1926, no. 196, n.p., p. 559 (another example illustrated, n.p.)
      Albert Sarraut, Variations sur la Peinture Contemporaine, Paris, 1929 (Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1929, installation view, another example illustrated, n.p.)
      Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Exposition de la collection particulière de M. Paul Guillaume, May – June 1929
      Anthony Bertram, The World’s Masters: Henri Matisse, London and New York, 1930, no. XII, n.p. (another example illustrated, n.p.)
      Herbert Maryon, Modern Sculpture: Its Methods and Ideals, London, 1933, no. 218, p. 162, n.p. (another example illustrated, n.p.)
      ‘Painters as Sculptors’, The New York Times, 5 November 1939 (another example illustrated)
      Sonya Rudikoff, ‘New York Letter’, Art International, vol. 6, November 1962, p. 62
      Herbert Read, A Concise History of Modern Sculpture, London, 1964, no. 29, pp. 36, 298 (another example illustrated, p. 36)
      Werner Bär, Nelly Bär, René Werhli, Sammlung Werner und Nelly Bär, Weinfelden, 1965, pp. 159, 254 (another example illustrated, p. 159)
      Albert E. Elsen, ‘The Sculpture of Matisse, Part II: Old Problems and New Possibilities’, Artforum, October, 1968, pp. 27, 28 (illustrated, p. 27)
      William Tucker, ‘Four sculptors part 3: Matisse’, Studio International, September, 1970, p. 87
      Jane Clapp, Sculpture Index, New Jersey, 1970, vol. 1, p. 603
      Felix Andreas Baumann, Dagmar Hnikova, eds., Der Skulpturensaal Werner Bär im Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, 1970, pp 6, 83-84, 85 (installation view illustrated, p. 6; another example illustrated, p. 84)
      Mario Luzi, Massimo Carrà, L’opera di Matisse: dalla rivolta ‘fauve’ all’intimismo, 1904-1928, Milan, 1971, no. S 7, pp. 108-109, 113 (illustrated, p. 108)
      Albert E. Elsen, The Sculpture of Henri Matisse, New York, 1972, nos. 123, 130, pp. 96-99, 102-103, n.p. (another example illustrated, p. 98; another example illustrated, p. 102)
      Abram Lerner, ed. The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, New York, 1974, no. 206, pp. 158-159, 721 (another example illustrated, p. 158)
      Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Matisse: His Art and His Public, London, 1975, pp. 138, 588
      Jack Flam, Matisse: The Man and His Art, 1869-1918, New York, 1986, no. 315, pp. 315, 318 (illustrated, p. 318)
      Kathrin Wappenschmidt, Henri Matisse. Sein plastisches Werk: Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde der Philosophischen Fakultät der Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, 1991, no. 49, p. 369 (illustrated)
      Hayden Herrera, Matisse: A Portrait, New York, 1993, p. 86
      Guy-Patrice, Michel Dauberville, Matisse, vol. 2, Paris, 1995, no. 796, pp. 1415, 1445, 1457 (another example illustrated, p. 1415)
      Claude Duthuit, Henri Matisse: Catalogue Raisonné de l'Oeuvre Sculpté, Paris, 1997, no. 49, pp. 134-137, 389 (illustrated, pp. 134-135, 137)
      John Klein, Matisse Portraits, New Haven and London, 2001, pp. 239, 241 (illustrated, p. 241)
      Yve-Alain Bois, Matisse and Picasso, Paris, 2001, no. 38, pp. 54-55, 58, 266 (illustrated, p. 55)
      Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master, A Life of Henry Matisse: Volume Two, 1909-1954, London, 2005, p. 65, 85, 510 (illustrated, p. 65)
      Christian Klemm, Franziska Lentzsch, eds., Kunsthaus Zürich: Gesamtkatalog der Gemälde und Skulpturen, Zürich, 2007, p. 599 (another example illustrated)
      Carrie Pilto, ed., Living with Matisse, Picasso and Christo: Theodor Ahrenberg and His Collections, London, 2018, no. 20, pp. 83, 358 (another example illustrated, p. 83)

    • Artist Biography

      Henri Matisse

      French • 1869 - 1954

      The leading figure of the Fauvist movement at the turn of the 20th century, Henri Matisse is widely regarded as the giant of modern art alongside friend and rival Pablo Picasso. Working as a painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor for over five decades, he radically challenged traditional conventions in art by experimenting with vivid colors, flat shapes and distilled line. Rather than modeling or shading to lend volume to his pictures, the French artist employed contrasting areas of unmodulated color. Heavily influenced by the art and visual culture of non-Western cultures, his subjects ranged from nudes, dancers, odalisques, still lifes and interior scenes and later evolved into the graphic semi-abstractions of his cut-outs of his late career. 

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Property of an Esteemed Private Collection


Grand Nu accroupi (Olga)

incised with the artist’s initials and number ‘H.M 5’ and stamped with the foundry mark ‘C. VALSUANI CIRE PERDUE’ on the base
bronze with brown patina
43 x 32.3 x 23.5 cm (16 7/8 x 12 3/4 x 9 1/4 in.)
Conceived in 1909-1910 and cast in 1952, this work is number 5 from an edition of 10.

Full Cataloguing

£600,000 - 800,000 ‡♠

Sold for £660,400

Contact Specialist

Rosanna Widén
Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+44 20 7318 4060

Olivia Thornton
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe
+44 20 7318 4099

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 13 October 2023