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Interior at Nice (Room at the Beau Rivage)

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954)

Henri Matisse checked into the Beau Rivage hotel in Nice, on France’s southern coast, in December 1917, intending only a brief stay, as perhaps indicated by the small, unopened brown leather suitcase on the table at right. Yet within just a few years, he would become rooted in Nice. What kept the artist working there for the rest of his life, he said, was the region’s tender, yet bright, light. In Interior at Nice, this Mediterranean light brightens the white lace curtains, the panes of the open window, and the interior. Matisse’s rendering of his room as an illuminated box signaled a broader change in the direction of his art. For a decade or more, he would turn toward a relatively realistic depiction of light, form, and three-dimensional space.

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