%C2%A9 Succession H. Matisse %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Boy with Butterfly Net, 1907


Visiting Italy in 1907, Henri Matisse was deeply impressed by the frescoes of Giotto, the 14th-century artist who ushered in the Italian Renaissance. Matisse especially liked Giotto's simplified volumes and restricted primary colors. In response to his Italian experiences, Matisse set about making his paintings more dramatic and monumental. Here, he created a spare landscape composed of flat areas of land and sky with a single grand figure.

The model is Allan Stein, nephew of Leo and Gertrude Stein who were important patrons of Matisse. His casual summer clothing and butterfly net suggest a slice of contemporary life. But the figure also seems to inhabit a mythic, timeless realm, and his stiff pose recalls ancient Greek sculptures of athletes and gods. The large scale of the painting reinforces this sense of elevation and magnifies its daring simplicity.



Matisse, Boy with a Butterfly Net (#390)
Boy with Butterfly Net
Artist Life
Accession Number
[Ambroise Vollard, Paris, until 1909; sold, May 6, to Bernheim-Jeune]; [Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, 1909–12; sold, June 4, for 4,000 Fr, to Glaser]; Curt Glaser, Berlin (from 1912, traded a Munch, to Moll) [1]; Oskar and Greta Moll, Breslau, Germany [now Wroclaw, Poland](by 1914–before 1928 (April). 'L.C. Hodebert, Meudon, France. [Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, until 1932; sold, February 1, to Barnes]; Dr. Albert C. Barnes, Merion, Penn. (1932–36, traded, January 2, for $6,000 credit, to Bignou Gallery); [Bignou Gallery, New York, from 1936]. [Alex, Reid, & Lefevre, London, by 1938–at least 1946]. [Bignou Gallery, New York, in 1948] [2]. [Carstairs Gallery, New York, by 1949–1951, sold to Mia] [1] According to a letter from Margarete Moll to Marguerite Duthuit, October 19, 1968, ArchivesMatisse, Paris. [2] Lent to Mia by Bignou from July 7–September 28, incoming loan number L48.906
Curator Approved

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© Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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