In this densely worked image, Henri Matisse portrayed the female body as a highly volumetric form. Devoid of details—faceless, hairless, smooth, and evenly rounded—she is an anonymous, yet sensual object. Up until this point, the artist frequently made transfer lithographs, which involved sketching the image on paper before transferring it to a lithographic stone. In creating this print, he drew directly on the stone for the first time. Matisse achieved the overall composition in a way that is similar to making a sculpture: adding in some areas and taking away from others. The result is a strikingly abstract figure comprising simplified geometric forms that foreshadows the deceptively minimal, yet complex characters he would develop in his later Jazz portfolio.
Label from Matisse and the Art of Jazz, January 20–July 1, 2018