Sotheby’s continues to build aggressively on its strength in the Impressionist and Modern market announcing today Matisse’s Odalisque au fauteuil noir, estimated at between £9 and 12m, for its London sale of Impressionist and Modern art:
Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Co-Head, Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide, said: “This exquisitely coloured painting is one of the finest of the artist’s celebrated ‘Odalisque’ paintings to come to the market.”
An exquisite portrait depicting Princess Nézy-Hamidé Chawkat, the great granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey, Odalisque au fauteuil noir (dated 1942 and estimated at £9-12m) is one of Henri Matisse’s finest paintings from his famed ‘Odalisque’ series, his depictions of the notorious concubine figure, with which he created one of the most recognisable emblems of eroticism in Modern art.
Princess Nézy, as she was known, was sent to live with her grandmother after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic and was spotted in the street by Matisse in 1940, who was drawn to her striking dark looks. Following a formal request, the Princess’s grandmother granted permission for the princess to sit for Matisse – accompanied by a chaperone – and over the course of almost two years she became his favourite model. Writing about Odalisque au fauteuil noir in a letter dated 17th January 1942, Matisse wrote, ‘I have also begun an important canvas of ma petite princesse de rêve’. It was only when the princess left Nice to be married in 1942 that Matisse sought a new muse.