Despite these difficulties he still considers himself like a medium entrusted with his art to reveal the beauty of the world and especially that of the human figure. He admits that he is not interested in psychology. Through the infinite variety of faces he synthesizes the ideal human figure. The face of Lydia, his devoted assistant since 1932, is his main inspiration.
His drawings decorate his room in Nice and break his own solitude. In 1950 he executes the portraits of his three grandchildren on the ceiling by using a charcoal at the end of a 2-meter stick. Fortunately the hand of the old artist does not tremble.
He also uses the Indian ink on paper in large strokes done with a brush. A Tête de Femme 65 x 50 cm made in 1952 was sold for $ 1,33M including premium by Christie's on November 16, 2016 over a lower estimate of $ 500K.
On March 23 in Paris, Sotheby's sells Visage, executed in the same year, same format and technique, lot 17 estimated € 800K.
This drawing is an achievement of that phase by its simplified view in close-up which eliminates the contours of the face. The expression is reinforced by the economy of means on this figure realized with less than 20 brushstrokes. It shows the same woman as on the Tête mentioned above. If she is Lydia, this view is perhaps an elegant way of avoiding her angular chin without impairing the resemblance.
On November 1, 1954, Matisse finished another portrait of Lydia and said "ça ira" (it will go). He died two days later.
SOLD for € 970K including premium