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Graphic Passion: Matisse and the Book Arts

by John Bidwell Penn State University Press
Pub Date:
10/2015
ISBN:
9780271071114
Format:
Hbk 264 pages
Price:
AU$135.00 NZ$139.13
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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The great painter Henri Matisse was also a great book illustrator. A pioneering member of the Fauves, a supreme colorist, a remarkable draftsman, and a creative genius: this is the Matisse known and admired by everyone with even a passing interest in modern art. But few know Matisse as an artist who designed and illustrated his own books. From 1912 until his death in 1954, he engaged in nearly fifty illustration projects, many of which rank among the greatest artists’ books of the twentieth century. A master printmaker, equally adept in various media, he ensured that his prints would appear to best advantage in conjunction with the printed page. He directly participated in page layout, typography, lettering, ornament, cover design, and even the choice of text. More than any others of his rank and stature, he knew the principles of visual communication and perceived the potential of letterpress printing.


Graphic Passion recounts the publication history of nearly fifty books illustrated by Matisse, including masterworks such as Lettres portugaises, Mallarmé’s Poésies, and his own Jazz. It is the first comprehensive, in-depth analysis of his book-production ventures and the first systematic survey of this topic in English. Drawing on unpublished correspondence and business documents, it contains new information about his illustration methods, typographic precepts, literary sensibilities, and staunch opinions about the role of the artist in the publication process.


 

contents

Director’s Foreword

Peggy Fogelman

Matisse Book Illustrations

Michael M. Baylson, Frances Batzer Baylson

Mallarmé’s Poésies:

“I will be vindicated by my maquette” Jay McKean Fisher

Introduction

John Bidwell

Catalogue Notes

Appendix: How I Made My Books

Henri Matisse

Sources and Abbreviations

Index

Acknowledgments

“A full and riveting account of Matisse’s evolving relationship with the Book.” —Peter Mendelsund, The New York Times Book Review


“This illuminating book considers Matisse’s illustrated books in admirable detail, giving unprecedented attention to the collaborative nature of Matisse’s book projects and to the relationship between their aesthetic qualities and the various technical factors that went into their production.” —Jack Flam, author of Matisse: The Man and His Art, 1869–1918


“Scholarly interest in this type of art production has in the past been relegated to a secondary position, due to, until fairly recently, the tendency of art historians to consider bookmaking a craft rather than a “high-art” process. Bidwell’s catalogue rectifies that lack as it provides detailed and precise descriptions coupled to informed, informative essays on the history and background of each book and, by extension, the activities of creative book production in Paris during the first half of the 20th century.” —Choice


“Graphic Passion more than compensates for those of us unable to attend the exhibition that accompanied it at the Morgan Library and Museum.” —John Randle, Matrix


 

John Bidwell is Astor Curator and Department Head of Printed Books and Bindings at The Morgan Library & Museum.