The Art Books of Henri Matisse at Portland Museum of Art, October 7 – December 31, 2016

“Artist’s books—limited-edition publications featuring original works of art—became increasingly popular in Paris during the first decades of the 20th century, when a growing group of educated, bourgeois collectors sought new ways to acquire works by leading contemporary artists. Matisse, like many avant-garde painters, worked in the medium both to extend the popularity of his art and to explore new techniques.

Using the book medium as an extension of his creative drawing practice, Matisse was able to distill his lifelong passion for the written word, while producing illustrations that were neither redundant with the written descriptions nor too independent of them.

The books reflect an artist embracing new challenges through continuous experimentation and extraordinary creativity. Each of the four books on exhibit—Pasiphaë–Song of Minos (The Cretans)The Poetry of Stéphane MallarméPoèms of Charles d’Orléans, and Jazz—reveal vastly different approaches to this medium, from manipulating white text on black pages (and vice versa) to making colorful cut-paper collages that he later used as stencils for the book.” Portland Museum of Art

untitled-pan-with-women

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). Page 76 from The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, published by Albert Skira & Cie, 1932. Etching, 12 3/4 x 19 1/2 inches. Bank of America Collection.

untitled-from-pasipahe-chant-de-minos_2

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). Page 30 from Pasiphaë, Song of Minos (The Cretans), text by Henry de Montherlant, published by Martin Fabiani, 1944. Linocut, 12 7/8 x 19 3/4 inches. Bank of America Collection.

untitled-from-pasipahe-chant-de-minos

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). Page 34 from Pasiphaë, Song of Minos (The Cretans), text by Henry de Montherlant, published by Martin Fabiani, 1944. Linocut, 16 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches. Bank of America Collection.

le-cheval

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). The Horse, the Rider, and the Clown from Jazz, published by Efstratios Tériade, 1947. Pochoir, 16 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches. Bank of America Collection

icare

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). Icarus from Jazz, published by Efstratios Tériade, 1947. Lithograph and pochoir, 16 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches. Bank of America Collection.

forme-9-of-20-in-jazz

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). Forms from Jazz, published by Efstratios Tériade, 1947. Pochoir, 16 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches. Bank of America Collection.

matisse_codomas_1182151

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). The Codomas from Jazz, published by Efstratios Tériade, 1947. Pochoir, 16 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches. Bank of America Collection.

le-cowboy

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). The Cowboy from Jazz, published by Efstratios Tériade, 1947. Pochoir, 16 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches. Bank of America Collection.

le-lanceaur-de-couteaux

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). The Knife Thrower from Jazz, published by Efstratios Tériade, 1947. Pochoir, 16 1/2 x 25 1/2 inches. Bank of America Collection.

frontispice

Henri Matisse (France, 1869–1954). Frontispiece from Poems of Charles d’Orléans, published by Efstratios Tériade, 1950. Lithograph, 16 x 20 3/4 inches. Bank of America Collection.

Images courtesy Portland Museum of Art.