This canvas states Matisse's original procedure as a Fauve.
The utterly unshaded and shadowless colors, however much at variance
with nature, are not arrived at arbitrarily. Each change of hue
"models" a shift of plane, as with Cézanne,
and in addition the "law of complementaries" and "simultaneous
contrasts" is followed. Two colors are complementary if
their light beams, fused in correct proportion, give a grayish
white; each of these same two colors simultaneously enhances
the brilliance of the other when contrasted -- so the Impressionists
held. Roughly, the complementary pairs are red and green, orange
and blue, and yellow and violet. Thus Matisse sees green in the
skin as the complementary evoked by its natural pink; paints
the hair an orange red to make it complementary to the bluish
green in the adjacent part of the hat; and finds blue behind
the neck because of the latter's yellow. The somewhat acid effect,
here as in other Fauve paintings, is due to the yellowish greens,
greenish blues, pinkish reds, and dull oranges in other words,
to a tendency to seek yellow everywhere.
A short while later Matisse began to work in fewer, larger,
and more homogeneous areas of color.