371
371

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, SPAIN

Henri Matisse
TÊTE, MARIE JOSÉ 
Lote. Vendido 461,000 GBP (Precio de adjudicación con prima del comprador)
SALTAR AL LOTE
371

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, SPAIN

Henri Matisse
TÊTE, MARIE JOSÉ 
Lote. Vendido 461,000 GBP (Precio de adjudicación con prima del comprador)
SALTAR AL LOTE

Details & Cataloguing

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Henri Matisse
1869 - 1954
TÊTE, MARIE JOSÉ 
signed H. Matisse and dated mai 47 (lower left)
brush and ink on paper
54.6 by 38cm., 22 1/4 by 15in.
Executed in Vence in 1947.
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The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Wanda de Guébriant.

Procedencia

Baron Fernand Graindorge, Belgium (acquired directly from the artist)
A wedding gift from the above to the mother of the present owners in 1952

Expuesto

Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Musée Matisse, Les dessins au pinceau de Matisse dans le cadre du dessiner-tracer, 2011- 2012, illustrated in colour in the catalogue, p. 67

Documentación

Pierre Schneider, Matisse, Paris, 1984, illustrated p. 378

Nota del catálogo

Tête, Marie José is a stunning example of Henri Matisse’s mature portraiture.  The sitter is rendered with a simple, confident line which reveals the instinctive approach to drawing the artist employed in his mature œuvre. As Matisse himself revealed; ‘when I execute my drawings… my route is not planned: I am led, I don’t lead. I go from one point on the object, the model, to another which I always see as isolated, never in relation to the other points my pen will make for afterwards. It is surely because I am governed exclusively by my own momentum that I translate, as it develops within me rather than from the exterior fixed by my eyes.’ (Henri Matisse quoted in Pierre Schneider, Matisse, London, 1984, pp. 374 – 375).  This yearning for an instinctive and honest creation radiates from the portrait. The calligraphy-like brushstrokes illustrate the sitter’s personality, poise and beauty in a manner that is free from distraction. The use of negative space allows the work to exude its own luminescence. This creates a powerful and engaging portrait, allowing the viewer a certain freedom to develop further aspects of the sitter in their own mind through the simplicity of execution.

This work is one of the most striking examples from the series of portraits Matisse created in 1947. As the photograph (Fig. 1) illustrates, these drawings were even used to decorate the walls of his studio. After health problems left the artist mostly bed ridden after 1941, his attention was often focused on his now legendary, ‘cut outs’ whilst always maintaining a powerful connection with portraiture. Matisse revealed that ‘[Faces] probably retain my attention through their expressive individuality and through an interest that is entirely of a plastic nature. Each face has its own rhythm and it is this rhythm that creates the likeness. The conclusion of this is: the art of portraiture is the most remarkable’ (Henri Matisse quoted in Jack Flam (ed.), Matisse on Art, Berkeley, 1995, pp. 220-221).

As testament to the quality of the piece, Tête, Marie José featured in the collection of prominent Belgian collector Fernand Graindorge, who owned more than twenty five drawings by Henri Matisse. He was an important member of the art world, especially in the city of Liège where he was instrumental in placing the city as a contemporary art centre in the 1950s. He promoted and played a major role in the A.P.I.A.W. (Association for the Intellectual and Artistic Progress of Wallonia) where forty nine drawings by Henri Matisse were exhibited in 1947.  His donation of seventy works - including another brush and ink drawing by Matisse - to the French community of Belgium was the subject of an exhibition at the Liège Musée des Beaux-Arts in 2009. The present portrait was gifted by Graindorge to the parents of the current owners on their wedding day (6th May 1952) and has remained in the family ever since.

Impressionist & Modern Day Sale (Including Picasso Earth & Fire: Unique Ceramics from the Collection of Marina Picasso)

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