Sunday, January 29, 2012

Matisse Jazz

I've just been to GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) to see the Matisse: Drawing Life exhibition. This is described as "the most comprehensive exhibition of Henri Matisse’s prints and drawings ever mounted. Presented in partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the exhibition includes more than 300 drawings, prints and illustrated books by one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists - Henri Matisse". 
I was more interested in his forays into print making but even more so in the paper cutouts phase which happened towards the end of his life. I had to wait until the very last part of the exhibition to see these but they were stunning. He used scissors to cut out simple forms from brightly colored paper painted to his specifications with gouache, then arranged them on another sheet of gouache-painted paper. 
Jazz (1947) is an artist's book of about one hundred prints based on paper cutouts.  The prints from Jazz have become classic images and have been reproduced countless times. I couldn't afford the book reproduction so bought a set of cards instead. Here are some of those classic images (thanks Wikipedia)
The Sword Swallower
And my long time favourite - Icarus
But perhaps even more special were the two screenprints on linen wall hangings Oceanie: Le Ciel and La Mer which depicted his time in Polynesia. Thirty sets were originally printed by the Belfast Silk and Rayon Company in 1948, each personally inspected and signed by Matisse - and here I was looking at one of them! 
In my internet searches for images, I also discovered these beautiful images (not in the Exhibition unfortunately)
Polynesia: The Sea 
and Polynesia: The Sky
So inspiring.

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