Matisse turned this intimate scene of his daughter, Marguerite, reading into a riot of color—her hair is painted in nearly as many colors as the fruit in the foreground. The artist developed this bold palette in the summer of 1905 in the southern port town of Collioure, France. There, painting alongside his friend the artist André Derain, he fulfilled his goal of learning "how to make my colors sing." Most critics judged his colors less than favorably, deriding Matisse and fellow artists as fauves, or "wild beasts," but shortly after this painting was made it was purchased by the supportive art critic and dealer Felix Fénéon.
from Cézanne to Picasso: Paintings from the David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection, July 17–August 31, 2009