Henri Matisse – ‘Masterpieces in Linocut’. 1943
1 December 2017
‘Amongst the greatest masterpieces in linocut printmaking in the 20th Century’ (Riva Castleman, late Curator of Prints, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1963-1995)
In 1943 Matisse worked for some 10 months, almost without break, in creating a series of linocuts inspired by the words of his friend Henri de Montherlant’s new interpretation of the Pasiphae and Minos legends. These works are widely considered amongst the greatest masterpieces of the art of linocut in the 20th century.
The book edition, with Montherlant’s text and 18 of the images, was published in 1944. During his 10 months constant work on the project Matisse had cut a further number of variant compositions and his intention was to issue these separately as an ‘album of prints’. In the end his desire for this album was fulfilled by his Estate in 1981. The works in this exhibition are from this edition. Each is numbered from the edition of 100 and bears the authenticity blindstamp of ‘HM’ initials applied by the Matisse Estate.
It is over 20 years since we were last able to offer a comparable group of these magnificent prints.