‘Reproduced so well they are almost equal to the originals’ – The Sunday Telegraph
‘The quality of reproduction, paper and printing is such that each voluptuous celebration of the female form is ready for instant framing’– The Independent on Sunday
The drawings that Matisse produced in the mid-1930s were those he valued as amongst his very greatest achievements. And finely reproduced as they are here, they astonish, delight and seduce everyone who sees them by their verve, their audacity and their voluptuousness. Made in pen and ink, admitting of no correction, devoid of shading or hatching they are, as Matisse said of them, ‘the most direct expression of my emotion.’
These portraits and drawings of models reclining in and against profusely patterned textiles and ornamented backgrounds, are miracles of pure line, of fluid arabesques seemingly spontaneous and free, yet rationally controlled to embody the height of exoticism and sensuality. The naked and clothed models, mirrors, reflections of sprawling limbs and of the artist himself or his own hand drawing, spread in waves across the whiteness of the paper to beguile us and take our breath away at Matisse’s sheer virtuosity in making a simple line evoke the complexities of space and form.
There was no delay in recognizing these miracles of draughtsmanship as a sort of pinnacle of perfection and in 1936 Christian Zervos reproduced a selection of them in his journal Cahiers d’Art. This present volume is a near facsimile of that special edition, and makes a rare and highly sought-after publication and an astonishing body of work available again for all to admire and enjoy.
Christian Zervos (1889–1970) founded Cahiers d’Art in 1926.