Femme assise devant son piano
Henri Matisse painted this small canvas as a preparatory sketch for a larger composition. It shows his process of making changes to the figure’s pose and position in the picture by scraping away and repainting the head and torso. Women playing the piano are a recurrent theme in Matisse’s work. This painting, in fact, is one in a series of similar compositions that Matisse painted around 1924. They were staged in Matisse’s apartment in Nice, recognizable by the distinctively patterned wallpaper. The young piano player is Henriette Darricarrère, one of Matisse’s primary models.