Curator, Ann Temkin: This painting was made during World War I, when he was using as a studio a cramped apartment near the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Artist, Lisa Yuskavage: The first thing that strikes me about this painting is the other worldly sense of light. The elegant use of changing from blue violet to red violet, down to yellow, back to blue violet through the window. It's just really beautiful. It's a very striking sense of iridescence.
Writer, Siri Hustvedt: That model is bored and angry. But she's also very human.
Lisa Yuskavage: Her body is not a solid, it is a void. It's painted this kind of thin, lemony yellow almost like the canvas itself. She's there because of what's around her. That black paint that comes up and hits her hip, that's what's creating her hip.
There's a big difference between trying to paint something realistically and making painted things. That's not a woman, that's a painted thing. And that's where the delight comes from in this painting—it's just the way in which he gives himself all of this liberty and then it all holds together. And we believe what we're seeing is a woman posing, but there's no woman there. It's all paint.
Ann Temkin: Matisse's work generally doesn't talk about politics and history. It's much more all about his own world, which is his studio. He's doing that here again. Yet, there is a wartime feeling to it for me. Whereas The Red Studio is almost like this imaginary paradise, this is a painting of constraint, a little colorless, which is a contradiction for Matisse.