Ellen McBreen, Helen Burnham
This book is the first in English to explore the essential role that Henri Matisse’s personal collection of objects played in his studio practice. The artist traveled with his collection even to temporary residences, and letters to family members often included requests for objects to be moved to where he was working, revealing them to be critical creative stimulants. Featured frequently in the modern master’s bold paintings, drawings and cutouts, and influencing the development of his work in sculpture, Matisse’s objects formed a secret history hiding in plain sight.
Works that span Matisse’s entire career are presented here alongside the objects that inspired them, from Asian vases and African masks to intricate textiles from the Islamic world. An introduction and five chapters take readers through studies of the object as actor and the studio as theater, the importance of African art in Matisse’s renderings of the human form and his sitters’ inner selves, and the invention and transformation of his own language of signs. With lush illustrations and archival images, Matisse in the Studio provides exceptional insights into the artist at work.