Following a life-altering surgery in 1941, Matisse turned to drawing to rekindle his creative spirit. The artist had painted still lifes throughout his career, but these concise and fluid works in graphite marked a break with his stylistic past. Working on a large scale, Matisse used abbreviated means to animate his subject and suggest solid form. His confident handling of line shows his boldness as an artist and anticipates his later work with cutouts. William Alexander bought this drawing and many others from the New York gallery of Alexandre Iolas, a legendary dealer with close ties to European surrealists as well as young contemporary American artists. Matisse’s daughter, Marguerite Duthuit, authenticated the drawing.
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