About This Artwork

Henri Matisse
French, 1869–1954

Woman Before an Aquarium, 1921/23

Oil on canvas
80.7 x 100 cm (31 3/4 x 39 3/8 in.)
Signed, l.r.: "Henri Matisse"

Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, 1926.220

© 2017 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, April–June 1923.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Exhibition of Modern French Paintings from the Birch-Bartlett Collection, April 1925, n.p., cat. 21, as Goldfish Bowl.

Chicago, Art Institute, Group of Modern Paintings from the Birch-Bartlett Collection, September 8–October 22, 1925.

Boston Art Club, Birch-Bartlett Collection of Modern French Paintings, December 9–26, 1925, n.p., cat. 23, as Femme devant un aquarium.

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Painting in Paris from American Collections, January 19–February 16, 1930, p. 33, fig. 52, as Woman Looking at Aquarium.

Providence, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Modern French Art, March 11–31, 1930, n.p., cat. 24, as Woman Looking at Aquarium.

Chicago, Art Institute, A Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1933, p. 56, cat. 398.

Chicago, Art Institute, A Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1934, p. 52, cat. 352.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Henri Matisse: Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, April 3–May 9, 1948, p. 40, cat. 62 (ill.)

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Henri Matisse, November 13, 1951–January 13, 1952, p. 10, cat. 54., as Woman before an Aquarium; traveled to Cleveland Museum of Art, February 5–March 16, 1952; Chicago, Art Institute, April–May 1952; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, May 22–July 6, 1952.

Paris, Musée national d’art moderne, Retrospective Henri Matisse, July 28–November 18, 1956, p. 28, cat. 63, pl. 24 (ill.), as Femme devant un aquarium 1921.

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Henri Matisse: A Retrospective, September 24, 1992-January 12, 1993, pp. 296, 329 (ill.), cat. 255, as Woman Before an Aquarium, Femme devant un aquarium.

Zurich, Kunsthaus, Max Beckmann and Paris: Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Léger, Rouault, September 25, 1998-January 3, 1999, pp. 103 (ill.), 233, cat. 83; traveled to St. Louis Art Museum, February 6-May 9, 1999.

Düsseldorf, Kunstammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Henri Matisse: Figure, Color, Space, October 29, 2005–February 19, 2006, pp. 36–7, 200 (ill.), 368, cat. 115, as Femme devant un aquarium.

Publication History

W. A. P., “Modern French Paintings: The Birch-Bartlett Collection,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 17, no. 5 (October 1923), pp. 70–71, as Girl with Fishbowl.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Art Institute of Chicago, 1925), p. 169, cat. 2291.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Exhibition of Modern French Paintings from the Birch-Bartlett Collection exh. cat. (Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1925), n.p., cat. 21, as Goldfish Bowl.

Boston Art Club, Birch-Bartlett Collection of Modern French Paintings exh. cat. (Boston Art Club, 1925), n.p., cat. 23, as Femme devant un aquarium.

Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 20, no. 1 (January 1926), p. 44 (ill.), as Femme devant un aquarium.

Art Institute of Chicago, Modern Paintings in the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial from the Birch-Bartlett Collection, (Art Institute of Chicago, 1926), pp. 26–27 (ill.), 55.

“Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 20 (March 1926), pp. 43–44 (ill.), as Femme devant un aquarium.

Watson, Forbes, “A Note on the Birch-Bartlett Collection,” The Arts 9 (June 1926), pp. 303–308 (ill.), 309–13.

Zabel, Morton Dauwen, “An American Gallery of Modern Painting,” Art and Archaeology 26, no. 6 (December 1928), pp. 233, 229, 233 (ill.), as Portrait of Mlle. Matisse: ‘Femme devant un Aquarium’.

McBride, Henry, Matisse (New York: Knopf, 1930), n.p. (ill.), cat. 22, as Femme devant un aquarium.

Museum of Modern Art, Painting in Paris from American Collections exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1930), p. 33, fig. 52, as Woman Looking at Aquarium.

Rhode Island School of Design, Modern French Art exh.cat. (Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, 1930), n.p., cat. 24, Woman Looking at Aquarium.

Sherwood, Walter J., “The Famous Birch Bartlett Collection,” Chicago Visitor (October 1932), p. 17 (ill.), as The Woman and the Aquarium.

Sweeney, James Johnson, “La peinture française moderne à l’Institut des beaux-arts de Chicago,” Cahiers d’Art 8–10 (1932), pp. 334–35 (ill.), 336, as la Femme devant un aquarium (la fille du peintre).

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture exh. cat. (Art Institute of Chicago, 1933), p. 56, cat. 398.

Rich, Daniel Catton, “The Exhibition of French Art: ‘Art Institute’ of Chicago,” Formes (English ed.) 33, no. 33 (1933), pp. 381–83, opp. p. 383 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture exh. cat. (Art Institute of Chicago, 1934), p. 52, cat. 352.

Severini, Gino, "Matisse, ‘Anticipazioni,'" no. 6 serie ARTI (Rome: Libreria Fratelli Bocca, 1944) p, 26 (ill.), as Donna e acquario.

Art Institute of Chicago, Modern Paintings in the Birch Bartlett Memorial from the Birch-Bartlett Collection, (Art Institute, 1946), pp. 32–33 (ill.), 57, as Woman before an Aquarium (femme devant un aquarium—Mlle. Matisse) 1921.

Fremantle, Christopher E., “Matisse in Philadelphia,” The Studio 136, no. 666 (September 1948), pp. 94–5 (ill.).

Greenberg, Clement, “On Critics and Greenberg: A Communication, Reply,” Partisan Review 15 (June 1948), pp. 681-690.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Henri Matisse: Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture exh. cat. (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1948), p. 40, cat. 62 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, “Masterpiece for the Month of September,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago (September 15, 1950), p. 57.

Barr, Jr., Alfred H., Matisse: His Art and His Public (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1951), pp. 164, 209–10, 436 (ill.), 558, as Woman before an Aquarium (femme at poissons rouges) Nice (1921).

Museum of Modern Art, Henri Matisse exh. cat. (New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1951), p. 10, cat. 54.

Art Institute of Chicago, Masterpieces in the Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 1952), n.p. (ill.).

Sweet, Frederick A., “Henri Matisse,” Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly 46, no. 2 (April 1, 1952), pp. 30–5 (ill.).

Diehl, Gaston, Henri Matisse (Éditions Pierre Tisné, 1954), n.p. (ill.), pl. 91, as Femme et poissons rouges.

Matisse, Henri, Portraits (Monte Carlo: André Sauret editions du livre, 1954), p. 127 (ill.), as Mlle. H. D. Femme devant un aquarium.

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago : A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Art Institute, 1961), p. 305, 475 (ill.).

Brill, Frederick, Matisse: Colour Library of Art (London: Paul Hamlyn, 1967) p. 37, pl. 26, as Woman and Goldfish 1921.

Guichard-Meili, Jean, Matisse (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1967), p. 231.

Okamoto, Kanjiro, “Bonnard/Matisse,” L’Art du monde 16 (Japan: Zauho Pres, 1968) n.p., cat. 55 (ill.).

Aragon, Louis, Henri Matisse, Roman (Éditions Gallimard, 1972), pp. 549, 550 (ill.), 854, as Femme et poissons rouges or Jeune femme à l’aquarium.

Luzi, Mario and Massimo Carrà, L’Opera di Matisse: dalla rivolta ‘fauve’ all’intimismo, 1904–1928, Classici dell’arte, 49 (Milan: Rizzoli, 1971), p. 100 (ill.), cat. 337, as Donna e pesci rossi.

Reff, Theodore, “Meditations on a Statuette and Goldfish,” Arts Magazine 51, no.? (November 1976), pp. 109–114 (ill.), 115, fig. 19, as Woman before an Aquarium.

de Mazia, Violette, “What’s in a Frame,” Barnes Foundation Journal of the Art Department 8, no. 2 (Autumn 1977), pp. 48–53, pl. 146 (ill.).

Izerghina, A., et al., trans. by R. J. Rosengrant, V. Paperno, Yu. Nemetsky, and I. Vlader, Henri Matisse: Paintings and Sculptures in Soviet Museums (Leningrad: Aurora Art Publishers, 1978) p. 190 (ill.), as Woman and Goldfish or Young Woman by the Fishbowl.

Gowing, Lawrence, Matisse (Thames and Hudson, 1979), pp. 155 (ill.), 210, cat. 139, as Femme et poissons rouges, and Woman before an Aquarium.

Linker, Kate, “Meditations on a Goldfish Bowl: Autonomy and Analogy in Matisse,” Artforum 19, no. 2 (October 1980) p. 73, n. 5.

Speyer, A. James, and Courtney Graham Donnell, Twentieth Century European Paintings (University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 14, 55, cat. 2F12.

Schneider, Pierre, trans. by Michael Taylor and Bridget Stevens Romer, Matisse (New York: Rizzoli, 1984), pp. 420, 501 (ill.), 513.

Bock, Catherine C., “Woman Before an Aquarium and Woman on a Rose Divan: Matisse in the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection,” Museum Studies 12, 2 (1986), pp. 200 (ill.), 201–21, fig. 2.

Cowart, Jack and Dominique Fourcade, Henri Matisse: The Early Years and Niece, 1916–1930 exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1986), pp. 166 (ill.), 257, pl. 119.

Guichard-Meili, Jean, Matisse (Paris: Editions Aimery Somogy, 1986), p. 129.

Richard R. Brettell, “The Bartletts and the ‘Grande Jatte:’ Collecting Modern Painting in the 1920s,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 12, no. 2 (1986), pp. 103-113.

Guillaud, Jacqueline and Maurice Guillaud, Matisse, Rhythm and Line (New York: Guillaud Editions, 1987) pp. 150, 157, 156, cats. 153 (ill.), 154 (ill.).

Silver, Kenneth E., “Matisse’s Retour à l’ordre,” Art in America (June 1987), p. 122, as Woman Before an Aquarium.

Flam, Jack, ed., Matisse: A Retrospective (New York: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, 1988), p. 235, pl. 74.

Wood, James N., and Katharine C. Lee, Master Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 1988) p. 129 (ill.).

Néret, Gilles, Matisse (Konecky and Konecky, 1991), pp. 142, 143 (ill.), 269.

Elderfield, John, Henri Matisse: A Retrospective exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1992), pp. 296, 329 (ill.), cat. 255, as Woman Before an Aquarium, Femme devant un aquarium.

Girard, Xavier, Matisse aujourd’hui (Nice: Cahiers Henri Matisse, 1993), n.p. (ill.), as Femme devant un aquarium.

“Journey into the Masterpieces,” 20th Century I, vol. 22 (Kodansha Ltd., 1992).

Milner, Frank, Henri Matisse (Bison Books Ltd., 1994), pp. 98-9 (ill.).

Bezzola, Tobia and Cornelia Homburg, eds., Max Beckmann and Paris: Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Léger, Rouault exh. cat. (Taschen, 1998), pp. 103 (ill.), 233, cat. 83.

Schaffner, Ingrid, The Essential Henri Matisse (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998), pp. 6–7 (ill.).

Müller-Tamm, Pia, ed., Figure, Color, Space: Henri Matisse exh. cat. (Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen: Düsseldorf, 2005), pp. 36–7, 200 (ill.), 368, cat. 115, as Femme devant un aquarium.

Staphanie D'Alessamdro and John Elderfield, "Coda: The Experiment Remembered" Matisse:Ratical Invention 1913-1917. Exh. cat (Art Institute of Chicago, 2010), p. 350, fig. 1.

Ownership History

Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, by June 4, 1923 [Bock 1986 note 10]; sold to Frederick Clay Bartlett, Chicago, June 4, 1923–1926 [Bock 1986 note 10]; given to the Art Institute, 1926.




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