You'll Simply Love These Matisse Prints From ArtWise!

April 13, 2020

One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Henri Matisse is celebrated for stylistic innovations which fundamentally altered the course of modern art and greatly affected the works of several generations of younger painters that followed. His brilliant use of color and exaggerated form was truly groundbreaking at the time. His vast and diverse oeuvre encompassed painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic arts, paper cutouts, and book illustration.

Matisse emerged as a Post-Impressionist and first achieved prominence as the leader of the French movement Fauvism. Still life and the nude remained favorite subjects throughout his career, and later in his career, he made an important contribution to collage with a series of works using cut-out shapes of color. Widely regarded as the greatest colorist of the 20th century, he used contrasting areas of pure, unmodulated color to create a light-filled atmosphere in works. Endorsing the value of decoration in modern art, Matisse once explained that he wanted his art to be one "of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter".

We have brought together a selection of amazing Henri Matisse prints for your wall, drawn from ArtWise's rich collection.

Featured image: Henri Matisse - The Fall Of Icarus (detail), 1994. All images courtesy of ArtWise.

Charles Baudelaire

Henri Matisse's devotion to the human figure led him to make portraits of many different sitters—members of his family, fellow artists, professionals in other fields, patrons, and various others. The artist sought to engage the genre as a mode of personal expression.

This portrait of the poet Charles Baudelaire is a page taken from Matisse-Portraits, published by Andre Sauret in 1955, featuring sixty duotone lithographic plates after drawings by the artist. This is a reproduction of the original drawing from 1940.

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Nadia Au Menton Pointu

The graphic essence of Matisse’s collages and paintings, built from distinct lines and bright block colours, lends itself perfectly to the art of printmaking. Working with etching, linocut, lithography and other printing techniques, the artist created images of the female figure and face in tender portraits. Nadia Au Menton Pointu is a stunning example of this practice.

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Creole Dancer

For the piece Creole Dancer, Matisse based the cut-out figure on Katherine Dunham, an American dancer and choreographer. He created the piece from the sketches he made while she was dancing, after being invited to perform in his studio. Using left-over bits of paper, Matisse created it in a single day.

Characterized by stunning colors and shapes, the work was created during what is often described by critics as his most innovative period. Not being able to paint due to severe arthritis, Matisse began cutting pieces of colorful and gluing them onto larger pieces of paper with the help of his assistants.

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The Fall Of Icarus

The piece The Fall of Icarus is perhaps his best-known work from the book of cutouts titled Jazz. It depicts Icarus, a protagonist of a well-known Greek myth who fell from the sky to his death after the sun melted his wings made from wax. Matisse rendered Icarus flailing in the deep blue sky in free fall.

This almost meditational composition features bursts of the yellow sunlight against the rich blue of the sky, while his Icarus has a bright red spot in place of a heart, embodying his passion for flying. "A thimbleful of red is redder than a bucketful," the artist once said.

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Nude With Fruits

Matisse often portrayed nude figures with varying degrees of abstraction and symbolism, being more concerned with compositional harmony than anatomical accuracy. “When an artist or student draws a nude figure with painstaking care, the result is drawing, and not emotion,” he once said.

The artist often adorned his nude models with exotic accessories, finding inspiration in the harems he had visited in Tunisia and Morocco before World War I. Nude With Fruits is a simplified monochrome nude accompanied by an assortment of fruits that provide the work with a dash of color.

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The Sculpture of Matisse

Although known primarily for his paintings, drawings, and works on paper, Matisse was also an accomplished sculptor whose radical style left lasting mark on modern art history. He also used sculpture to find a solution to pictorial problems. Often, he would return to certain sculptural concepts and worked on some pieces for years at a time.

This lithograph was printed by Mourlot for an exhibition of Matisse's Sculptures at The Tate Gallery.

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Naked in the Waves

Naked in the Waves is a nude rendered with simple white lines on an absolutely black background. To create the original piece, the artist used a technique of linocut, which created a much different effect compared to his etchings. The white lines, which denote areas where Matisse carved into the linoleum, appear as if they have been sliced into black paper.

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Le Buisson II

This piece is a high-quality print from the archives of Galerie Maeght in Paris, of the original work Le Buisson from 1951. The artist rendered a tree with simplified black lines on a pale background.

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Brooklyn, New York, United States of America