The Moorish Screen inevitably in mind that the famous Matisse about the art to be like a good armchair in which “men of business, and the man of letters” can relax.
It is one of the few representations of women in the fashion of the day: her daughter and favorite model, Henriette Darricarrère. They make a sweet pair, surrounded by the beautifully patterned decor of a well-travelled, upper middle class, bohemian family.
But if Matisse favorite inside the serenity of the violence and the politics of his rival, Picasso, this is not to say that he was not interested in the revolution. It’s just that his turmoil was all about what you have done with paint.
It is an early work of his prolific Beautiful time, when he left a starker, more abstract style to one where the eroticism explodes in the model as much as in the flesh. It is characterized by the images of the women, harem pants or falling out of a fragile envelope. But they are also sites of experimentation, and a year of joy after the horrors of the war.
A part of Matisse in the workshop, at the Royal Academy of Arts, W1, 12 November
Full … The Moors of the Screen. Photograph: Succession Matisse/DACS 2017