About this artwork
Beginning in 1917, Henri Matisse spent most winters in Nice, on the Mediterranean coast. He often stayed at the Hôtel Mediterranée, a Rococo-style building he later fondly termed "faked, absurd, delicious!" Interior at Nice is perhaps the most ambitious of a series of images the painter created using the hotel as a backdrop, all done in the realistic style to which he had returned around this time. The pink-tiled floors and yellow, arabesque-patterned wall-paper are present in many of these works, as are the skirted dressing table, oval mirror, shuttered French window, and balcony. The balcony in fact was one of the artist’s favorite themes, allowing him to link internal and external space into a continuum structured by patterns and modulated light.
Additionally, Matisse often included a young woman somewhere in the scene. Here, his favorite model at the time, Antoinette Arnoux, plays an important role. Not only is she the subject of the painting on the wall, but the composition’s high viewpoint and plunging, wide-angled perspective draw all attention to her as she sits on the balcony, her back to the sea. Framed by shimmering curtains, she gazes directly at the viewer.
Pinks, honeyed grays, silvery blues, and smoky corals all create a gently pulsating atmosphere of light and radiant warmth. The overpainting and loose, fluid brushstrokes make the artist’s process—his painterly choices—palpable to the viewer. These visible marks fix the momentary act of painting, just as the painting fixes on canvas the fleeting atmosphere of an afternoon in Nice.
- Henri Matisse
- Interior at Nice
- Oil on canvas
- Signed, l.r.: "Henri-Matisse"
- 131.5 × 90.7 cm (51 13/16 × 35 11/16 in.)
- Gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman
- © 2018 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York