Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Bowdoin College Museum of Art Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Advanced Search
Image of untitled (portrait of Simon Bussy) 13020


Henri Matisse (Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France, 1869 - 1954, Nice, France)


untitled (portrait of Simon Bussy)

Creation Date

ca. 1935


19th-20th century


12 in. x 7 in. (30.48 cm x 17.78 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, France

Medium and Support

graphite on beige paper

Credit Line

Bequest of William H. Alexander, in memory of his friend, Frederick H. Wilke, M.D., Chief of Pediatrics at St. Lukes Hospital, New York


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

Henri Matisse and Simon Bussy (1869/70--1954) were lifelong friends from the time they met as students at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Since the early years of the twentieth century, Bussy, a painter of portraits and landscapes, divided his time between London and the South of France, socializing not only with former classmates Matisse and Georges Rouault (1871--1958), but also members of the Bloomsbury group and French writers Andre Gide and Paul Valery. In this drawing, Bussy appears as Matisse’s alter ego. A 1945 self-portrait drawing by Matisse in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York is almost indistinguishable. Bussy’s slightly broader face and prominent chin and Matisse’s goatee differentiate the two, who seem to be examining the world from behind their spectacles with an equal dose of skepticism. The Bussy portrait seems to be drawn effortlessly, with great respect for the sitter, and foregoes the deliberate distortions Matisse applied to his own face.

Recommend keywords

Help us make our collections more accessible by providing keywords to describe this artwork. The BCMA uses the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus to provide consistent keywords. Enter a keyword in the field below and you will be prompted with a list of possible matching AAT preferred terms.