Is this considered a Fauvist painting?
Yes it is. With its undisguised vivid brushstrokes and high-keyed, vibrant colors directly from the tube, this is a typical fauvist painting.
Henri Matisse painted it just one year after debuting his new style at the 1905 Salon d'Autumn in Paris. (It was during that exhibition that the witty critic Louis Vauxcelles called such paintings "fauves," meaning "wild beasts," in his review for the magazine Gil Blas.) This picture still shows the influence of neo-impressionism (also sometimes called pointillism), with its short dabs of color in the lower left and on the nude herself. As the years went by, Matisse moved to a greater focus on powerful line and flat color.
Interestingly this picture was the first work by Matisse to enter an American art collection. The American painter and frame-maker George F. Of purchased it from the expatriate Mrs. Michael Stein, the sister-in-law of Gertrude Stein.
Why did the Museum put a Matisse next to a Monet? Is there a symbolism behind painting placement?
Well, that wall is installed chronologically and the Monet and Matisse were painted just two years apart, despite their great difference in style. Another possible answer to your question is that Monet (particularly in this late period) had a great deal of influence on Matisse and artists of his generation. Especially in terms of the expressive possibilities of color.
Ok, I could see that. This pairing just seemed so much darker. I didn't know if they had something in common.
Well the subject of all the pictures on this wall is landscape. Though Monet's picture is certainly depicting a very different kind of landscape than Matisse. Regarding color though, there is a contrast here as well. Monet's intention was to "document" the surprisingly colored atmosphere created by the sun and fog in London over the Thames. Matisse, on the other hand, isn't intending to reproduce the colors he sees in nature at all (or at least not only that). Many of his colors are exaggerated or even arbitrary.
Does the museum have later Matisse paintings in the collection?
We have paintings from 1906 and 1916-17, not on view right now, as well as many prints, but they are highly light-sensitive, so they are rarely displayed.
This painting was the first Matisse painting ever exhibited in New York, incidentally!
No kidding. That is really cool. Where was it first exhibited?
In a gallery at 291 5th Avenue, owned by the photographer Alfred Stieglitz. It's a physically small work, but it has a lot of presence, Matisse's color is so vibrant, and it has that interesting history! It was also included in the infamous "Armory Show" here in New York in 1913, the exhibition that introduced the NYC public to international modern art.