MATISSE ODALISQUES by Bob Kessel

Due to the recurrent incidence of nude women and intensely sensual interpretation many observers have assumed that as a man Matisse must have been a hedonist. On the contrary, historic examination demonstrates that in reality, he was rather a self-abnegating Northerner who lived only to work, and did so in chronic anguish, recurrent panic, and amid periodic breakdowns. While Picasso recompensed himself, as he went along, with gratifications of intellectual and erotic play Matisse did not. In an age of ideologies, Matisse dodged all ideas except perhaps one: that art is life by other means.

Matisse’s uninhibited celebration of women is often believed to have initiated from Cézanne’s painting Three Bathers (1882) (which he had acquired for himself along with a Van Gogh and a Gauguin). However, Matisse depicts women as nurturing, welcoming, and unlike the forbidding, massive clay-like presence of those of Paul Cezanne.

Matisse continued to evolve in unexpected directions even though never became an abstract painter (though some of his most adventurous works, such as the View of Notre Dame of 1914 or the Yellow Curtain of 1916 come close). His motifs were always recognizable, and the tension between the subject and the formal aspects of the painting was a central concept of his artistic ideal.

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ODALISQUE WITH CULOTTES by Bob Kessel
after Henri Matisse

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STRIPED ODALISQUE  by Bob kessel
after Henri Matisse

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TOPLESS ODALISQUE  by Bob kessel
after Henri Matisse

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BLUE ODALISQUE by Bob Kessel
after Henri Matisse

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NAPPING ODALISQUE by Bob Kessel
after Henri Matisse

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SEATED ODALISQUE by Bob Kessel
after Henri Matisse

ODALISQUES by Bob Kessel

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ODALISQUE WITH CULOTTES by Bob Kessel

Bob Kessel’s art series “ODALISQUES” features pictures like “ODALISQUE WITH CULOTTES” shown above. These pictures are available as signed and numbered limited edition fine art prints. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.

During the 19th century, odalisques became common fantasy figures in the artistic movement known as Orientalism, being featured in many erotic paintings from that era.

In the nineteenth century, when more artists traveled to the Middle East, they began representing more numerous scenes of Oriental culture. In many of these works, they portrayed the Orient as exotic for its differences, colorful and sensual. Such works typically concentrated on Near-Eastern Islamic cultures, as those were the ones visited by artists as France became more engaged in North Africa. French artists such as Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and later, Henri Matisse painted many works depicting Islamic culture, often including lounging odalisques.