Published: February 11, 2003
NEW YORK CITY – Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse had many things in common; one primary passion which burned throughout their lives was a profound love of books. Both Matisse and Picasso illustrated a number of books with original graphic art, several of these recognized as the most significant illustrated books of the Twentieth Century.
To coincide with the forthcoming exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art entitled, “Matisse Picasso,” Ursus Books and Prints will exhibit a large number of the most important illustrated books created by these two artists. Each book was issued in a limited edition and was signed by either Matisse or Picasso. The exhibition will run from March 1 to March 31.
Included will be copies of Matisse’s four greatest works, the colorful collage masterpiece Jazz, widely recognized as one of the most famous books of all time; Stephane Mallarme’s Poesies, published by Skira in 1932; Pasiphae by Henri de Montherlant, published in 1944; and Pierre Ronsard’s Florilege des Amours, also published by Skira in 1948.
The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Foundation have agreed to lend several of Matisse’s original maquettes – offering a view of the early stages of creative development in the layout for his books. Thus the exhibition at Ursus will not only display the major books produced by Matisse, but will also provide a exciting and informative window into the creative thought process that Matisse invested into his book-making.
Picasso’s book illustration, as in everything else, was prodigious. Ursus will feature more than 20 of his most important and influential books, spanning the same time period as those of Matisse. The “cross-pollination” of artistic influence that has been remarkably revealed in the “Matisse Picasso” exhibition at MOMA will be equally evident in the Ursus exhibition of their book illustration. Both artists were well aware of what the other was doing in book illustration. The books illustrated by both men served as inspiration to the other.
From Picasso’s oeuvre, the exhibition includes the lovely, slim volume of La Jeune Parque of 1921 for which Picasso contributed a lithographic portrait of the author Paul Valery; Balzac’s Chef d’Oeuvre Inconnu, published by Vollard in 1931; Gongora’s Vingt Poemes of 1948; and illustrations to accompany the works of the writers Rene Char, Robert Desnos, Paul Eluard, Max Jacob and Tristan Tzara.
The Ursus Gallery and Daniela Laube Fine Art will also exhibit a selection of original, signed prints by Matisse and Picasso. With the exception of the material on loan from the Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Foundation, everything will be available for purchase.
An illustrated catalogue will be available at the time of the exhibition.
Ursus is on the Mezzanine of the Carlyle Hotel at 981 Madison Avenue between 76th and 77th Street. Hours are 10 am to 6 pm. Monday through Friday, and Saturday 11 am to 5 pm. For information, 212-772-8787.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm