Henri Matisse - The Terrace, Saint-Tropez, 1904

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

The Terrace, Saint-Tropez, 1904

Oil on canvas, 72 x 58 cm (28 3/8 x 22 13/16 in.)

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Object details

Accession number

P1s5

Provenance

Purchased by Thomas Whittemore (1871–1950), American scholar and archaeologist from the artist, Henri Matisse, between 1908-1910 or possibly from the Thannhauser Gallery, Munich February 1910 (see Chong 2003).
Loaned to Isabella Stewart Gardner by Thomas Whittemore in 1910 and officially given as a gift on 2 September 1922.

Marks

Signed (lower right): Henri Matisse

Bibliography

"Loans Recieved in 1911." Annual Report of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, vol. 36 (Boston, 1912), p. 185.
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1924 or 1925), p. 1.
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), p. 237.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 18.
Stuart Preston. "Terrace at St. Tropez" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 53.
Clara Strauss. “Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 8, no. 17 (27 Dec. 1964), p. 2.
Renata Negri. Matisse e i fauves (Milan, 1969), p. 32, pl. VI.
Mario Luzi and Massimo Carrà. L'opera di Matisse dalla rivolta 'fauve' all'intimismo 1904-1928 (Milan, 1971), p. 86, no. 25.
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 161-62.
Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1981), pp. 116-117.
Nicholas Watkins. Matisse (Oxford, 1984), p. 52, 54, fig. 33.
Karen E. Haas. "Henri Matisse: 'A Magnificent Draughtsman.'" Fenway Court (1985), pp. 36-49, no. 1.
John Elderfield. "Henri Matisse: A Retrospective." Exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1992), pp. 87, 125, pl. 44.
Hilary Spruling. The Unknown Matisse, A Life of Henri Matisse: The Early Years, 1869-1908 (New York, 1998), p. 284, pl. 18.
Rémi Labrusse and Nadia Podzemskaia. "Naissance d'une vocation: aux sources de la carrière byzantine de Thomas Whittemore." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 54 (2000), pp. 43-69, fig. 12.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 218-221.
Alistair Wright. Matisse and the Subject of Modernism (Princeton, 2004), pp. 21-23, pl. 8.
Sebastian Smee. "Stepping into the Sun." Boston Globe (18 January 2011).
Janet Bishop. "Making Matisse His Own: Richard Diebenkorn's Early Abstractions and Figurative Paintings" in Janet Bishop and Katherine Rothkopf. Mattise/Diebenkorn. Exh. cat. (Baltimore: Balitmore Museum of Art; San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), pp. 28-29, fig. 9.


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Commentary


Matisse’s wife, dressed in a kimono, sits leaning against a boathouse, almost hidden in the scene. Forms and colors play against each other: the sea at the left, the shadow cast by the building, and the twisting branches above flatten the space. 

This work was painted while the Matisses were staying with painter Paul Signac, in the south of France. Isabella Gardner did not buy much modern art. This painting and several drawings by Matisse were given to her by a circle of friends who evidently thought that Matisse’s interest in figures and identifiable places, as well as his sensuous colors, would appeal to Gardner.