John Berggruen Gallery

Matisse: Drawings and Prints 1915-1947

Matisse: Drawings and Prints 1915-1947

Tuesday, May 17, 2011Saturday, July 30, 2011


San Francisco, CA USA

John Berggruen Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of drawings and prints by Henri Matisse. The exhibition opens Tuesday, May 17th and continues through Saturday, July 30th. Henri Matisse: Drawings and Prints: 1915-1947 coincides with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde, on view from May 21-September 6, 2011.

This exhibition presents an extensive collection of works on paper, several of which are included in the collection of the Pierre Matisse family. Matisse’s versatility with different media such as pen and ink, charcoal, and pencil will be showcased, along with his facility with delicate etchings, as well as lithographs and aquatints. Several of the pochoirs from his famous “Jazz” series will also be on view. This varied grouping of works reveals Matisse's life-long fascination with the figure, pattern, and decoration.

Matisse considered his drawing to be a very intimate means of expression and favored subjects such as the female figure or still-life. Often these drawings were made to inform his paintings and sculptures; therefore, he felt that these drawings should be quick, gestural exercises to capture the form and emotion evoked in him by the subject. John Elderfield notes in his renowned essay “(Drawing) allowed Matisse to consider simultaneously the character of the model, the human expression, the quality of the surrounding light, atmosphere and all that can only be expressed by drawing.” (The Drawings of Henry Matisse, exh. Cat., Arts Council of Great Britain, 1984, p. 84).

Matisse's experiments with printmaking, which focus on lines and shapes, creating black-and-white works that are by turns bold, delicate, and playful. The artist once said of his engravings, "It's about learning and re-learning the writing of lines." Matisse created new artistic languages in his prints, and this body of work reflects his tireless experimentation.

For further information and photographs, please contact Tatem Read at 415.781.4629 or tatem@berggruen.com.