Exhibition of Matisse Drawings and Prints on View at Maison Française, Nov. 2 thru Dec. 21


Henri Matisse–Writers on Paper: Selected Drawings and Prints from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation is the first exhibition dedicated exclusively to Matisse’s little-known drawings of men. The exhibition, on view at New York University’s Maison Française from Nov. 2 through Dec. 21, includes a selection of intimate drawings and prints of writers.

Exhibition of Matisse Drawings and Prints on View at Maison Française
Potrait d'homme de profil (Roger Bernard), 1946 Charcoal © 2010 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri MatisseWriters on Paper: Selected Drawings and Prints from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation is the first exhibition dedicated exclusively to Matisse’s little-known drawings of men. The exhibition, on view at New York University’s Maison Française from Nov. 2 through Dec. 21, includes a selection of intimate drawings and prints of writers, including Matisse’s friends, colleagues, and a young poet and martyr, Roger Bernard, whom Matisse admired. Several of the works in this exhibition, created between 1937 and 1946, are being shown for the first time.

“We sincerely hope that this exhibition will be a catalyst for greater appreciation and more extensive study of Matisse’s interaction with the men—writers, musicians, artists, collectors—who embodied European cultural life in the first half of the twentieth century,” said Alessandra Carnielli, executive director of The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation.

Central to Writers on Paper are seven large pen-and-ink portraits of Louis Aragon, one of France’s foremost poets, who became one of Matisse’s most passionate advocates. Other drawings and lithographs in this jewel-like exhibition portray Henri de Montherlant, Paul Léautaud, and Matisse’s mysterious neighbor, Franz Thomassin, an avant-garde writer who published under the name Franz Viller.

The images in this exhibition offer insights into the personalities of these writers. Indeed, Matisse’s spontaneous portraits are like frames from candid documentary films. Rendered in his hallmark stenographic style, the artist’s observations are imbued with clarity, elegance, and strong expressive power.

In an essay that appears in the accompanying exhibition brochure, critic Carter Ratcliff writes that, “For Matisse, an essence was not simple and unchanging but, rather, a manifold of possibilities that reveal themselves from moment to moment.”

Curated by Martin Fisher and Martin Mullin, the exhibition has been organized by The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation and Museum Projects Partnership, with the cooperation of La Maison Française of New York University and Artists Rights Society.

Henri MatisseWriters on Paper will be on view at New York University’s Maison Française from Wed., Nov. 2 through Tues., Dec. 21. La Maison Française is located at 16 Washington Mews (at University Place) in Greenwich Village. The gallery is open Mon. through Fri. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The public can call 212.998.8750 or email maison.francaise@nyu.edu for more information. The exhibition is free.

Editor’s Note:
Please check the website for days the gallery will be closed for university events:
www.nyu.edu/maisonfrancaise.