Sleeping Nude, 1916 by Henri Matisse

It was Lorette who liberated (or was liberated by) Matisse. Together they embarked on a series of experiments that would open up new directions in Matisse's work for another decade and more. She first arrived in his studio at a moment when he was already beginning to turn to other painters (as he always did when his own work was in transition), this time to his immediate predecessors rather than the classical masters in the Louvre. He went through the Cezanne's paintings in Pellerin's collection three or four times in the winter of 1916-17. He included a section of Renoir's Portrait of Rapha Maitre in the top half of his own portrait of Pellerin, and wrote wistfully to Paul Rosenberg to say how much he would have liked to meet Renoir himself. Instead he arranged for the Bernheims to introduce him to Monet, visiting the older painter several times among his water lilies at Giverny. Matisse bought his first painting by Gustave Courbet in November, going on to acquire four more in 1917, including a sketch for the richly sensual thelovely Sleeping Blonde.

"The picture makes a strong decorative effect," Matisse wrote to Walter Pach three months after he finish Sleeping Nude ,