From the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia:
Matisse made his first trip to Morroco, where he spent several months, in the winter of 1912. As in "Spanish Still Life" (1910, Hermitage), the artist chose to paint a corner of his hotel room. But when we compare it with the works of 1904 to 1910, this painting has a new, direct freshness in the depiction of nature. On the dressing table with its marble top, Matisse placed a vase of irises in what seems to be a classical, standard composition. But this was only an excuse for an exploration of the realms of light and colour. The energetic strokes of lilac paint underline the naturally ornamental form of the petals and the small areas of white canvas surrounding the flowers and their strong green stems introduce light without reducing the resonance of the colour. The warm brownish-red surface of the wood and pottery is marvellously tangible and complements the cool surface of the stone. But this tangible world exists side by side with a mysterious world "Through the Looking Glass", where everyday rules cease to hold sway, where the mirror does not reflect the surroundings but is instead filled with a strange light and a mysterious blackness. The colour transformation of space continues also in the background of the painting, in which we can see strange green tones flickering out of the black.