Matisse: The Red Studio

Henri Matisse. *Young Sailor II*. 1906. Oil on canvas, 39 7/8 × 32 5/8ʺ (101.3 × 82.9 cm). Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri Matisse. Young Sailor II. 1906

Oil on canvas, 39 7/8 × 32 5/8ʺ (101.3 × 82.9 cm). Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curator, Ann Temkin: The Red Studio is filled with nudes and there's one male, the Young Sailor. He's got clothes on amid all of these women. Matisse went out on a limb to do the simplification of line and color, space that he was working towards, but no customers.

Professor, Mehammed Mack: To me this seems like a homoerotic painting. I was struck that this is a super direct gaze. The folds in the sweater have an interesting interplay with the folds in his pants. It accentuates the musculature of the thighs. And what I felt was very obvious here was the outline of the crotch and the genitals.

I think it's just very beautiful how his left pant leg is rolled up to show the lower part of the calf and the ankles going down to the shoes. That is a very fetishized part of the male anatomy, when it's well-developed in its musculature.

Writer, Claire Messud: He's both an objective and a totally subjective presence. The actual person he was is evoked by the physicality—his solid thighs and his big hand on his leg, but it's also the very intimate portrait of the person that Matisse sees.

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