Most biographies coding the life of Matisse put an emphasis on his anxiety during his studio sessions with women. The young women tried to hold still across Matisse’s effort to express his emotions on canvas. You can sense the tension of these models in some of Matisse’s paintings, such as Amélie – his wife. He wanted to paint women in moments of desperation and perhaps danger.

There is an erotic charge accompanying his work, yet not in a form of straightforward lust. The colors indicate the passion, while the looks and postures of women conceals the sort of shock that his paintings create. But Matisse did not just push the limits of endurance for these models. He often let them close their eyes, even letting them sleep. The women depicted are almost always in two separate poles: either they are in complete distress or they are sleeping passively, even peacefully.

What is it about the act of sleeping that inspired him as much as it did Picasso? while Dalí takes us to the land of dreams, Matisse shows us the physical reality of the act preformed by women of all sorts:  peasants, nymphs with all their beauty and ugliness.

Portrait of Marguerite Sleeping 

Medium: Oil on Canvas

One of Matisse's favorite models was his own daughter, Marguerite. Portrait of Marguerite Sleeping is a serene portrait of her in slumber, likely as a young adult.

Still Life with Sleeping Woman 

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Not dissimilar from his portrait of The Dreamer, Matisse also did a portrait of a woman sleeping in conjunction with a still life study. This painting was famously a part of a recovered collection of paintings stolen by a Nazi war criminal during World War II.

The Dream 

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Similar in pose and curvature to Picasso's portrait of Marie-Thérèse, Matisse's The Dream depicts a sleeping model in a peasant blouse.

First Sketch of The Dream

Sleeping Woman sketch

Sleeping Nude

-Asl─▒ Özyenginer