Matisse as Printmaker: Works from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation

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Jay McKean Fisher

Paperback, 88 p., 102 illus.

Drawn from the extraordinary collection of Matisse prints that once belonged to the artist’s son, Pierre, and is now part of the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, Matisse as Printmaker includes approximately sixty-three etchings, monotypes, aquatints, lithographs, linocuts in black and white, and two-color prints—examples of every type of printmaking utilized by Matisse. The exhibition underscores the importance of his work in series, as well as such recurring motifs as the standing, seated, and reclining nude, and brings this unfamiliar and under-studied material to a wider audience.
Henri Matisse (1869–1954) may be best known as a painter and sculptor, but he himself placed no hierarchy on the mediums in which he worked. Each medium was exploited for its unique possibilities and became totally integrated with other formal and thematic concerns. It is in drawing, and by extension printmaking, however, that Matisse reveals most openly the focus of his thematic interests. In the print imagery, we see the significance of the series in Matisse’s art, as one motif, such as a reclining nude, becomes a progression of images. The serial aspects of printmaking uniquely mirror the artist’s process by taking the viewer around a model with different points of view as the process of studio modeling continues. Matisse as Printmaker includes series such as nudes in the studio, friends and family members, women watching fish in a bowl, leg studies, and odalisques.

This fully illustrated catalogue includes an essay exploring Matisse’s use of printmaking throughout his career by Jay McKean Fisher, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at The Baltimore Museum of Art. This catalogue was published in conjunction with an exhibition at The Baltimore Museum of Art, October 25, 2009–January 3, 2010