A remarkable example of Henri Matisse’s mature sculptural oeuvre,<em> Le Tiaré</em> is widely celebrated as the apex in his pursuit of organic simplicity. Conceived in Nice in 1930 and cast in the months before his passing in November 1954,<em> </em>the present bronze was purchased by Los Angeles collector Betty Sheinbaum from famed art dealer Eric Estorick in 1960. Inspired by the <em>tiari</em> flower worn by Tahitian women in their hair that Matisse had admired during his visit to the South Sea in early 1930, this exquisite bust presents the modulated features of a female head with a cluster of rounded forms – its simplified profile surmounted by a sensuous conglomeration of petal and leaf-like bulbous shapes akin to an elaborate hairstyle. It is not only this deliberate and punning ambiguity of the plant metaphor that makes <em>Le Tiaré</em> unique within Matisse’s sculptural oeuvre, it is notably also, as Alfred H. Barr Jr. highlighted, “perhaps his only work done during the ensuing decades to be a characteristically Tahitian form” (Alfred H. Barr Jr., <em>Matisse: His Art and His Public</em>, New York, 1951, p. 218). As the only sculpture in Matisse’s oeuvre to be transferred into stone, the white-marble version of <em>Le Tiaré</em> resides in the Musée Matisse in Nice-Cimiez.<br /><br /><em>Le Tiaré</em> marks the radical turning point in Matisse’s mature career prompted by his trip to Tahiti. In fact, it represents the first major work he created after having reached a creative impasse at age 60 in the late 1920s. Like his artistic forebear Paul Gauguin, Matisse embarked upon a five-month journey to Tahiti in February 1930 in search of new inspiration. The trip utterly revitalized Matisse, who profusely sketched and drew the island’s lush tropical vegetation – ushering in a wholly new formulation of his art. "The voyage to the other side of the world appears, in retrospect, a major turning point…a hinge between the two major phases of his oeuvre" (Pierre Schneider, <em>Matisse</em>, Paris, 1984, p. 605). Upon his return to France, Matisse reengaged with the highly experimental streak that had characterized his practice prior to 1918. <br /><br />Though Matisse’s memories of his Tahiti trip would surface in his paper cut-outs in the mid-1940s, their most crystalline reference came in the present work. <em>Le Tiaré</em> would go on to serve as a crucial foundation for the pictorial innovations in Matisse’s late oeuvre. As Matisse explained in 1941, “I took up clay in order to rest from painting, in which I had done absolutely everything I could for the moment. It was to order my sensations, to seek a method that completely suited me. When I had found it in sculpture, I used it in painting” (Henri Matisse, quoted in Serge Guilbaut, <em>Chatting with Henri Matisse: The Lost 1941 Interview</em>, Los Angeles, 2013, pp. 84-85). The formal perfection that Matisse achieved with <em>Le Tiaré </em>provided him with the necessary confidence to capture similarly shaped volumes with an unprecedented economy of line in his late drawings and paintings, such as in the illustrated <em>Poésies</em> book and his masterpiece<em> La Danse, </em>1930-1933. Situated at the crucial crossroads between Matisse’s Nice period and the more abstract style of his late practice, <em>Le Tiaré</em> is a truly exceptional masterpiece that exemplifies Matisse’s relentless innovation and radical inventiveness.
bronze with dark brown patina
The work is in very good condition. The work is structurally sound. There is light handling wear in places to the patina. There are a few hairline linear abrasions in places, primarily to the head and chest of the figure.
New York, Museum of Modern Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; The Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Art, <em>Henri Matisse</em>, November 13, 1951 - July 6, 1952, no. 104, p. 11 (another example exhibited)<br />University of California Los Angeles Art Galleries; The Art Institute of Chicago; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, <em>Henri Matisse: Retrospective 1966</em>, January 5 – June 26, 1966, no. 132, pp. 138, 195 (another example exhibited and illustrated, with necklace, p. 138) <br />Paris, Grand Palais, <em>Henri Matisse: Exposition du Centenaire</em>, April – September, 1970, no. 242, p. 101 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 291)<br />Berkeley, University Art Museum, <em>Excellence: Art from the University Community</em>, September 1970, no. 493 (present lot exhibited) <br />New York, Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; Pasadena Art Museum; Berkeley, University Art Museum, University of California, <em>The Sculpture of Matisse</em>, February 24 – November 5, 1972, no. 64, p. 54 (present lot exhibited in Pasadena and Berkeley, another example illustrated, p. 40; with necklace, p. 41)<br />Paris, Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne (no. 226); Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts (no. 218), <em>Henri Matisse: Dessins et sculpture</em>, May 29 - October 26, 1975, p. 242 (another example exhibited and illustrated)<br />Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, <em>Henri Matisse: Sculptor/Painter</em>, May 26 – September 2, 1984, no. 48, p. 129 (another example exhibited and illustrated) <br />Edinburgh, City Art Centre; London, Hayward Gallery; Leeds City Art Gallery,<em> The Sculpture and Drawings of Henri Matisse</em>, August 3, 1984 – March 24, 1985, no. 64, pls. 64-64b, pp. 40, 148 (another example exhibited and illustrated, pp. 135-37)<br />Le Cateau Cambrésis, Musée Matisse, <em>Matisse et l'Océanie: Le Voyage à Tahiti</em>, March 28 – June 28, 1998, pp. 110, 185-86 (another example exhibited and illustrated, pp. 111, 185)<br />Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, <em>Matisse and Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry</em>, January 31 - May 2, 1999, no. 52, pp. 57, 67, 90, 247, 249 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 67) <br />Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Baltimore Museum of Art, <em>Matisse: Painter as Sculptor</em>, January 21, 2008 – February 3, 2008, nos. 77-78, pp. 8, 24, 44, 85-86, 272 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 195; with necklace, pp. 196-97)
<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">Amanda Lo Iacono</a><br /> Head of Evening Sale<br /> New York<br /> +1 212 940 1278<br /> <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a><br />
sculpture 8 x 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (20.3 x 14 x 19.1 cm.) base 1 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (3.8 x 14 x 19.1 cm.) overall 9 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (24.1 x 14 x 19.1 cm.)
Alfred H. Barr, Jr., <em>Matisse: His Art and His Public</em>, New York, 1951, pp. 185, 217-18 (another example illustrated, p. 461) <br />Gaston Diehl, <em>Henri Matisse</em>, Paris, 1958, pp. 64, 117 (another example illustrated, with necklace, p. 40) <br />Giuseppe Marchiori, <em>Matisse</em>, New York, 1967, no. 76, p. 134 (another example illustrated, p. 81) <br />Herbert Read, “Le sculpteur”, <em>XXe Siècle</em>, numéro special <em>Hommage à Henri Matisse</em>, 1970, p. 125 (another example illustrated, with necklace, p. 126)<br />Mario Luzi and Massimo Carrà,<em> L’opera di Matisse, dalla rivolta ‘fauve’ all’intimismo 1904-1928</em>, Milan, 1971, no. S24, p. 109 (another example illustrated p. 108) <br />Albert E. Elsen, <em>The Sculpture of Henri Matisse</em>, New York, 1972, nos. 229-230, pp. 76, 170-174 (another example illustrated, p. 171) <br />John Elderfield, <em>Henri Matisse: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art</em>, New York, 1996, p. 108 (another example illustrated, p. 109)<br />Pierre Schneider, <em>Matisse</em>, Paris, 1984, pp. 536, 548, 561 <br />Nicholas Watkins, <em>Matisse</em>, Oxford, 1984, no. 157, p. 235 (another example illustrated, with necklace, p. 171) <br />John Elderfield, <em>Henri Matisse: A Retrospective</em>, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1992, p. 297 (another example illustrated) <br />Claude Duthuit, <em>Henri Matisse: Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre sculpté</em>, Paris, 1997, no. 78, pp. 220, 336, 346, 366-67, 387 (another example illustrated, pp. 218-19, 221) <br />Jack Flam, <em>Matisse in the Cone Collection: The Poetics of Vision</em>, Baltimore, 2001, pl. 37, pp. 84, 87 (another example illustrated, p. 85)
Galerie Samlaren, Agnes Widlund, Stockholm (acquired in 1954)<br />Eric Estorick, London<br />Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in 1960
<p>The leading figure of the Fauvist movement at the turn of the 20th century, Henri Matisse is widely regarded as the giant of modern art alongside friend and rival <a href="https://www.phillips.com/artist/10800/pablo-picasso">Pablo Picasso</a>. Working as a painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor for over five decades, he radically challenged traditional conventions in art by experimenting with vivid colors, flat shapes and distilled line. Rather than modeling or shading to lend volume to his pictures, the French artist employed contrasting areas of unmodulated color. Heavily influenced by the art and visual culture of non-Western cultures, his subjects ranged from nudes, dancers, odalisques, still lifes and interior scenes and later evolved into the graphic semi-abstractions of his cut-outs of his late career. </p>