Henri Matisse – Papiers Decoupes, Berggruen & Cie Gallery Paris, 1953
A wonderful Henri Matisse original poster created for an exhibition of the artist’s paper cutouts at Galerie Berggruen & Cie in 1953. An important collector piece, connecting some of Matisse’s most pioneering work with the influential art dealer and collector Heinz Berggruen, who was the first – during the artist’s lifetime – to discover the importance of Matisse’s almost abstract later works.
Berggruen was the son of a German-Jewish stationery store owner, who emigrated to the United States in 1936. Initially working as a freelance art journalist, before taking up a post in 1939 at the San Francisco Museum of Art. After the war, in 1947, he founded the first iteration of the Galerie Berggruen & Cie at Place Dauphine on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris, and began to collect and deal in modern art, specialising at first in books and lithographs. Three years later the gallery moved to 70 rue de l’Université, where it remained for thirty years.
Over the course of fifty years Heinz Berggruen largely concentrated on collecting works by Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, and Alberto Giacometti, and in 1996, as a gesture of reconciliation, he sold 165 works of art to the German federal government to form the core of the Berggruen Museum in Berlin, Germany. Returning art that had been despised and driven out by Hitler’s Germany, just as he was.
The image in this lithographic poster printed by Mourlot is Algue Rouge Sur Fond Bleu Ciel, 1952. This piece was then presented to Berggruen as a gift from the artist in 1953 (after the work was used for this poster.)
Dimensions: 65 x 40 cm
Reference: Sauret 47
b.1869, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France
Henri Matisse's artistic journey is one of the most captivating and prolific of the Modern era. His career was defined by artistic experimentation, fierce competition, and an unending pursuit of perfection. His prints are highly collectible works of Modern Art that have stood the test of time, and he is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. His lithography prints are some of the most beautiful examples of his unique artistry and are highly valued by collectors.
He was a Post-Impressionist who rose to prominence as the leader of the French art movement Fauvism. Colourful, expressive brushstrokes and flat, geometric lines defined the aesthetic of Fauvism and the ideals of modernism itself through the artwork of Matisse. Painting, sketching, printmaking, collage, and sculpture were some of the mediums used by the French artist, who often depicted simplified human forms and floral motifs.
Matisse's sculpture and painting were both heavily influenced by the human form. Because he felt that the theme had been ignored in Impressionism, it was significant to him in his Fauvist work. On the one hand, the figure was shattered into sharp fragments, while on the other, it was treated almost as a curvilinear ornament. Some of his work reflects his models' moods and personalities, but more often than not, he used them as vehicles for his own feelings, reducing them to cyphers in his monumental designs.
His artwork has been purchased for tens of millions on the secondary market and is included in numerous museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate, and the Guggenheim. Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and many others were influenced by Matisse's flattened planes and vivid colours. Both he and Picasso were inspired to create and influence 20th-century painting by their infamous rivalry.