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    Inscribed by Henri Matisse to Dorothy Paley

    [Henri Matisse]. [Dessins de Matisse. Paris: Editions "Cahiers d'Art", 1936].
    From the 1936 special issue of Cahiers d'Art devoted to Henri Matisse. Inscribed by the artist in ink on the front flyleaf: "homage respectueux / à Madame Dorothy Paley / Henri-Matisse / Janvier 1937." Large quarto (13.125 x 10 inches). 5-10, [2] pages. With an artist's proof, inscribed and signed in pencil by Matisse: "epreuve d'artiste / Henri-Matisse," with tissue guard. Thirty-six mounted reproductions of pen and ink drawings by Matisse printed on thin paper. One of the drawings is captioned: "à Madame Dorothy Paley/ respectueusement / Henri Matisse Sept 36." Includes the essay "Automatisme et espace illusoire" by Christian Zervos and the poem "à Henri-Matisse" by Tristan Tzara.

    Bound in green cloth lettered in gilt on spine. Original stiff card color pictorial wrappers by Matisse bound in at front. Slight dampstaining in the lower margin, sometimes just affecting a mounted plate.

    "In 1935 Matisse began the long series of large pen drawings, the bulk of which were done in 1936 and constitute perhaps his most distinguished work of that year. The Nude in the characteristic. Rarely if ever before had Matisse drawn, and composed as he drew, with such elaborate virtuosity. The foreshortened figure, the main motif of the drawing, flows in a diagonal curve down across the paper between a variety of deftly abbreviated patterns. At the upper left her image is reflected in a mirror and in the lower right it appears a third time on the artist's sketch board. The artist himself is here represented only by his thumb and finger holding the pen; in other drawings he appears in the mirror, a conceit which Matisse varies in a dozen amusing ways-devices which are at the same time serious demonstrations of the artist's attempt to involve himself within the very space he renders as a draftsman. Many similar drawings were reproduced in 1936 in a special number of Chahiers d'Art along with an essay be Christian Zervos and a poem to Matisse by the broad-minded surrealist, Tristan Tzara" (Alfred Hamilton Barr, Matisse, His Art and His Public, p. 251).

    "After buying two of Matisse's Nice period paintings in 1936, [William Paley] the Columbia Broadcasting System executive commissioned Matisse to paint a portrait of his wife. In early September of that year, the Paleys visited Matisse at his studio in Paris, where he made at least eight charcoal drawings and an unknown number in pen and ink...What is clear in the portraits of Dorothy Paley is how Matisse concentrated on her eyes, as if he isolated this feature in order to study them specially, making them wider then narrower, sharpening then obscuring their gaze, calibrating their effect on the entire expression of the portrait...The portrait was never done" (John Kline, Matisse Portraits, pp. 190-191).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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