The Library and Bank of America Merrill Lynch present this exciting exhibition of the art books of Henri Matisse, marking the first public display of these works in Europe. The exhibition features four of Matisse’s most artistically significant books, including the famous Jazz, on loan from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection.
Best known for his boldly coloured paintings, Matisse created a body of work that also included drawings, prints, cut-outs and sculpture, as well as costume and stage set designs. He did not begin his work with illustrated books until his late sixties, but he considered them amongst the works of which he was most proud. Matisse regarded the prints he created for these books as an extension of his drawing. The same flowing lines that characterised his oils and pencil studies carried over to the printmaking medium and related illustrations.
Two Matisse books from the Library’s own collection are also on display: Poèmes de Charles d’Orléans (1950), which is inscribed from Matisse to Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), and a copy of Matisse’s illustrated version of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1935), which was acquired by the Library in 2009. Beatty and Matisse knew each other and shared an interest in Persian miniatures and Japanese prints, which they both collected. Beatty visited Matisse in Nice, where they both had homes, and the inscribed book was probably given to him as a gift directly from the artist. Beatty’s wife, Edith, also knew Matisse and had two of his paintings in her personal collection.
This exhibition is provided by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art in our Communities programme.