Matisse as Printmaker: Works from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation opened April 6, 2014 at the Memorial Art Gallery and remains on view through June 8. Drawn from the extraordinary collection of Matisse prints that once belonged to the artist’s son Pierre, the exhibition includes 63 etchings, monotypes, aquatints, lithographs, black and white linocuts, and two-color prints—examples of every printmaking medium used by Matisse. With its rich variety of media and subject matter, Matisse as Printmaker sheds new light on an under-studied aspect of Matisse’s oeuvre and underscores the importance of printmaking for the artist.
Recognized foremost as a painter and sculptor, French master Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was also deeply engaged throughout his career in exploring other mediums and the unique possibilities they offered for creative expression. Matisse saw printmaking as an extension of drawing, which was integral to the whole of his art. As Jay Fisher, guest curator of Matisse as Printmaker, writes in the exhibition catalog, “Printmaking was Matisse’s primary means of demonstrating to his audience his working process, the character of his vision, and the way his drawing transformed what he observed.”
Moving from one medium to another, Matisse made prints fairly consistently from 1900 until his death in 1954. During the course of his career, he produced more than 800 images, often in editions of 25 or 50. This great profusion of images expanded the reach of his art and has helped cement his position as one of the preeminent artists of the 20th century. Although Matisse was deeply engaged in the practice of printmaking, most of the exhibitions and research on the artist’s work to date have focused on his paintings and sculpture. With its diverse selection of works from different periods in Matisse’s career, Matisse as Printmaker provides a comprehensive examination of the artist’s relationship with the printmaking medium and the role it played in the evolution of his visual ideas. The exhibition offers a persuasive argument that Matisse’s prints merit appreciation and consideration not only in relation to his painting but in their own right. (Via artdaily.com)
View our Matisse collection at GallArt.com