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Two Models Resting
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Two Models Resting

Henri Matisse, French, 1869 - 1954

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

18 1/2 x 28 7/8 inches (47 x 73.3 cm) Framed: 23 3/8 × 33 7/8 × 3 1/8 inches (59.4 × 86 × 7.9 cm)

© Succession H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Frank Abercrombie Elliott, 1964

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It was while living and working in Nice in the early 1920s that Henri Matisse introduced into his oeuvre the theme of the odalisque that he inherited from Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780-1867) and Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863), in which recumbent female models were dressed in brightly colored North African costumes. In this painting, the curvilinear shapes of the languid women's bodies are repeated in the organically patterned wall hangings, while the checkerboard in front of them functions as another decorative prop in a composition filled with brightly colored textiles and fabrics drawn from Matisse's vast personal collection.

Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    While living in Nice in the 1920s, Matisse formally introduced the theme of the odalisque into his oeuvre. In these works the artist adorned his models in North African or Middle Eastern costumes and surrounded them with vibrantly patterned textiles from the large collection that he had amassed by this time. Following the departure of his longtime model Henriette shortly before this picture was painted, Matisse hired a group of new models, including a pair of sisters, who may be depicted here. The curvilinear yet flat shapes of the women's bodies are set against the dramatic patterns created by the red wallpaper, a chessboard, and the two colorful curtains. This same setting--and even some of the costumes worn by the models--would be utilized in other works of the same year, such as Seated Odalisque (The Baltimore Museum of Art). The odalisque paintings, which combine aesthetic and erotic pleasure into one, are best described in Matisse's own words: "Look closely at the Odalisques: . . . the oriental decor of the interiors, . . . the sensuality of heavy, drowsy bodies. . . . In this atmosphere of languid relaxation . . . there is a great tension brewing, a tension of a specifically pictorial order."1 Melissa Kerr, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 142.

    1) As translated in Jack Cowart, Matisse: The Early Years in Nice, 1916-1930 (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1986), p. 35.


Purchased from the artist by Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, summer 1937 [1]; sold to Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney (1899-1992), New York, December 20, 1937 [2]; Gwladys Hopkins Elliott (Mrs. Frank Abercrombie Elliott) (formerly Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and Mrs. Josiah Marvel Jr.) (1905-1997); gift to PMA, 1964. 1. Matisse Gallery stockbook, purchases 1932-1947, stock no. 679 (confirmed by label removed from back of painting, in curatorial file), purchased from Henri Matisse, summer 1937, as "Repos des modèles". The stockbook is in the Pierre Matisse Gallery Archives, Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (Box 171, file 33). 2. Matisse Gallery stockbook, 1931-1942 (Matisse Gallery Archives, Box 171, file 34). Mr. Whitney was the first husband of Gwladys Hopkins Elliott, to whom he was married from 1931-1940. Her second husband, Josiah Marvel Jr. (1904-1955), was appointed first as U.S. envoy in 1946 and then ambassador to Denmark in 1947, a post he held until May 1949. According to notations added to the photo captions in Henry Clifford's copies of Courthion's and Escholier's monographs on Matisse (PMA library), "Two Models Resting" accompanied the Marvels to the American Embassy in Copenhagen. Gwladys Hopkins Marvel married Frank Abercrombie Elliott (1910-2003) in 1977.