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Odalisque with Tambourine (Harmony in Blue), 1926

Henri Matisse
French, 1869-1954
Oil on canvas
36-1/4 x 25-5/8 in. (92.1 x 65.1 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© 2017 Succession H. Matisse/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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In the 1920s, Matisse settled in Nice, the epicenter of the silent-film industry in France. Perhaps inspired by such local productions as La sultane de l’amour (1919), the painter began staging orientalist scenes in his seafront studio using an ever-changing assortment of decorative wall hangings, rugs, and costumes. Over the next eight years, Matisse devoted himself to the theme of the odalisque, basing the majority of these compositions on a model and former dancer named Henriette Darricarrère, who was working as a film extra when she first met the artist. Odalisque with Tambourine (Harmony in Blue) evidences Matisse’s creative collaboration with Darricarrère, as the model’s upraised arms and the round red form of the tambourine reiterate the decorative x’s and o’s of the North African textile behind her.

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