1.14.2011

The mental balm of Souvenir d'Oceanie

souvenir

Souvenir D'Ocean, 1953 Color lithograph derived from the cut-paper original maquette by Matisse, 1952/54. Created and editioned at the Mourlot Studio, Paris 1954, under the supervision of Matisse. Signed in the stone. Lithograph plates erased after the edition. 


Matisse Lithographs after Cut-Outs


Between 1950 and 1954, the year of his death, Matisse created some highly innovative, brightly coloured gouache paper cut-outs. Illness had confined him to a wheelchair and severe arthritis made it difficult for him to paint. Some of the resulting colours were so strong that Matisse’s doctor was said to have advised him to wear dark glasses. In 1953 it was decided to reinterpret these works as lithographs. Matisse personally directed and supervised the first ‘pulls’ during 1954, in collaboration with the renowned lithographers Mourlot Frères of Paris. Founded in 1921, Mourlot worked with many of the great artists of the 20th century, including Picasso, Miró, Vlaminck, Bonnard and Dufy. Matisse’s joie de vivre was unimpaired by old age. He wrote, “What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or disturbing subject matter ... like a comforting influence, a mental balm - something like a good armchair in which one rests from physical fatigue”.



From an estate sale. It's nice to have something from one of the greats, in their own time, even if it's just a lithograph. And in this case Matisse conceivably could have actually touched it, having supervised its printing. Another draw was the offset Hermes-orange matting. Below is the ocean-size Souvenir d'Oceanie in situ, at the MoMA.


matissemoma








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