More about Odalisque with Red Culottes

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Sr. Editor

One of two topless-lady-wearing-red-pants paintings by Henri Matisse.

I like this one better. His other one is a little boring visually but has a much more interesting history.

Critics gave Matisse a hard time for never painting things the right color but, when he switched to normal colored ladies in red pants his friend Marcel Sembat, a collector and politician, said “He’s given in, he’s calmed down, the public is on his side.” Poor guy just couldn't win. 

The model for this painting (and many others) is ballerina Henriette Darricarrère.

Matisse seems to be the only artist in the world who didn't try to sleep with his models; he had fantastic and lasting friendships with pretty much all of them. Henriette was good friends with Mrs. Matisse and the children and was taught how to paint by the master. 

The costume for this Orientalist painting was inspired buy a family trip to the carnival. Everyone was playing dress up with the harem pants and turbans but it was Henriette who pulled off the gauzy tops and breezy pants with ease.