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HENRI MATISSE Etchings from the collection of J. Kasmin


HENRI MATISSE Etchings from the collection of J. Kasmin Masterpiece Fair | Stand no. C17 28th June – 4th July 2018

Lyndsey Ingram 20 Bourdon Street London W1K 3PL T. +4 4 (0)20 7629 8849 E. info@lyndseyingram.com W. lyndseyingram.com


FOREWORD Lyndsey Ingram

It is a great privilege that we are able to

We are delighted to be showing this

present this exquisite group of Matisse

exceptional group of prints publicly

etchings on our 2018 Masterpiece booth.

for the first time and look forward to finding new homes and new collections

Collected over three decades by the

for them.

veteran London dealer John Kasmin, these works were each carefully chosen

We would like to thank Ann Dumas

by his unequivocal eye and discerning

for her insightful and considered essay,

aesthetic

which perfectly combines insights on both Matisse’s etchings and Kasmin’s

Delicate, intimate and extremely rare,

collecting. And most of all, we would

these etchings were all bought for

like to thank Kasmin for this wonder-

Kasmin’s personal collection and the

ful opportunity, I hope our exhibition

entire group hung elegantly along the

is able to do justice to his very special

stairwell of his home for many years.

collection.

It is fitting that such intimate works should have lived for so long in such an intimate setting – much admired by his many visitors and sitting perfectly amongst the countless treasures that define Kasmin’s eclectic collection and fill his stunning London house.

Right: Henri Matisse etchings in Kasmin's London home

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INTRODUCTION Ann Dumas

In Matisse’s etchings we find the most

of etchings date from 1914-1915. This

complete distillation of his line. While

was followed, after some years, by an

his paintings have earned him renown

intense concentration on printmaking

as one of the great colourists of the

in 1929 when Matisse produced an ex-

twentieth century, his prints and drawings

tended series of etchings of great deli-

reveal that he was no less a draughts-

cacy and refinement.

man, endowed with an astonishing capacity to conjure with just a few

For thirty years or so, a number of

deft strokes of the burin or pencil the

these etchings have hung on Kasmin’s

essence of a sitter or the pose of a figure.

staircase, taking their place among the numerous objects and works of art that

Beginning with his Self-Portrait as an

form his wonderfully eclectic collection.

Etcher of 1903, Matisse made prints all

Kasmin has always loved Matisse. As

his life, not continuously, but in intense

an art dealer, he bought and sold a few

bursts, perhaps as a respite from the

Matisse drawings and then acquired

more formal demands of painting and

one of his prize possessions, the early

sculpture. Unlike Degas or Picasso, he

bronze sculpture Female Torso, 1906,

was not particularly experimental in the

made when Matisse first discovered

techniques of printmaking but he was

African sculpture. But one day in Paris

a master printer who worked in all the

in the early 1980s, Kasmin was bowled

main print processes – aquatint, lith-

over by an exhibition of the etchings

ography, monotype, woodcut, linocut –

that were a gift to the French state

and of course etching. His first group

from the artist’s son Jean. Immediately,

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he recognised them as ‘iconic Matisse

whom Matisse captures in two different

images’ that offered a unique insight

aspects, suggesting different sides of

into the artist’s creative mind. ‘To me

her appearance and personality. For

they seemed like prints of the artist’s

the portrait of Mlle. Yvonne Landsberg,

mind at work, his thoughts while he

he chose a narrow format allowing the

was painting pictures or between paint-

girl’s distinctive long face and features

ing bursts. Plus, they were relatively

to fill the sheet. The portrait of the

inexpensive. I can remember being

American painter Walter Pach is even

struck by how modestly priced they

more daringly compressed so that the

were at the time. Most people didn’t

sitter’s bushy moustache, eyebrows and

notice these little works – but they

hair became the defining features in

are tiny and beautiful, yet very private

this compellingly close-up image.

works, some made for friends – he gave most of them away.’

Pach never forgot the speed with which Matisse dashed off this print. ‘I’ll do it

The first group of 1914-1915, is a series

in five minutes’, Matisse assured him

of informal portraits printed in a small

when Pach explained that he had to

edition of fifteen impressions on fine

leave for a lunch appointment in five

papier de Chine. They were made almost

minutes. ‘This isn’t serious,’ Matisse

as private mementoes or personal

said. ‘I wanted to set down an impres-

jottings of people that Matisse liked,

sion of you then and there. But come

his family and friends. Among them

on Sunday morning and we’ll have time

we find Josette, the wife of Juan Gris,

for a real one.’ When Pach returned he

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found the sketch already printed. ‘We

to avoid the plates wearing out and to

looked at the little five-minute etching',

ensure that the printed ink remained

he recalled, ‘and it had just the life that

fresh and crisp.

the more heavily worked things had lost.’ Such assurance was, of course,

The subjects of this suite of etchings

grounded in Matisse’s sustained and

often echo those of the paintings of this

meditative absorption of his subject

time – predominantly, the female nude

before committing the image to paper.

and the familiar props of North African

Yet, what gives these etchings their

textiles, a decorative lamp and a goldfish

special appeal is that he was able so

bowl. The young woman transfixed

totally to preserve in the finished print

by the fish in a goldfish bowl in Jeune

the verve of that first creative impulse.

femme aux yeux noirs fixant un aquarium he revisits the subject of Woman before

Matisse etched a few plates through-

an Aquarium (Art Institute of Chicago),

out the 1920s but suddenly, in 1929,

that he had painted a few years before

he threw himself into an intensive

in 1921-23. In other of the 1929 etchings,

burst of etching producing over a

with a single, unhesitating contour,

hundred plates within a year. As in 1914,

Matisse pins down the pose of a nude as

Matisse etched directly on the plate

she shifts casually from one position to

from the model. The etchings of 1929

another.

were usually printed in editions of twenty-five proofs (plus some trial and

Matisse’s principal theme of the 1920s

artist’s proofs), an edition small enough

is the odalisque, the French term for a

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concubine in a harem, a subject made

of it in an art school in Nice in 1918)

popular by nineteenth-century orien-

continued to resonate in his prints and

talist artists. The odalisques recline

drawings throughout the 1920, culmi-

in the richly patterned mise-en-scènes

nating in the celebrated bronze Seated

that Matisse put together in his Place

Nude of 1925-29.

Charles-Félix apartment in Nice, layering rugs, textiles and wall hangings

The North African decorative arts that

to create the colourful settings of his

Matisse loved were only a part of his

paintings. What is remarkable in the

large collection of objects that included

etchings is the deft economy with which

humble French domestic vessels, to as

he succeeds in evoking these opulent

well as Asian calligraphy and particu-

interiors in black and white.

larly masks and wooden sculptures from Western and Central Africa. Together

In Figure endormie sur fond moucharabieh

with Picasso, he was among the first

and Nu assis et portrait de Mme Cézanne

artists to collect African art in the early

the figures, heavy with languorous

years of the twentieth century.

sensuality, possess a weight that is unusual in these etchings, but perhaps

Kasmin’s passions as a collector em-

less surprising when we remember that

brace a broader range of time and

in the twenties Matisse was obsessed

cultures, encompassing works from

with Michelangelo. The powerful form

Ancient Egypt, Oceania, Classical

of Michelangelo’s great sculpture Night

Greece, Indian sculpture from the

(Matisse had discovered a plaster cast

Kushan and the Gupta periods, Islamic

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calligraphy, Ikat textiles, etchings by Rembrandt, Goya and Matisse – all brought together by a remarkably discerning eye. How Matisse would love to have explored Kasmin’s fascinating acquisitions and to have seen his etchings in a collection which spoke so often to his own enthusiasms. Over the years, going up and down his stairs, Kasmin has come to know and love his Matisse etchings, but now he feels that he has ‘squeezed all the pleasure’ he can from them. It is time for them to move on and to find new contexts and new homes.

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'To me they seemed like prints of the artist’s mind at work, his thoughts while he was painting pictures or between painting bursts. For 30 years I’ve enjoyed living with these wonderful etchings. Now it’s time for someone else to enjoy them.' – J. Kasmin

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Figure au visage coupé assise dans un intérieur Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 6 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 187) 28 × 38 cm ****

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Mlle Landsberg au long visage Etching with chine collé, 1914. Signed in ink and inscribed 'La quinze ex'. A proof aside from the edition of 15. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 34) 31.5 × 22.5 cm £14,000

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Nu assis et portrait de Mme Cézanne Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 15 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 133) 38 × 28.5 cm £22,500

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Nu couché, drapé dans une étoffe fleurie Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 12 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 121) 28 × 38 cm £22,500

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Jeune Polonaise Etching with chine collé, 1917/18. Signed in ink and numbered 14 from the edition of 15. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 73) 38 × 28.5 cm £16,000

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Jeune femme, mains croisées près d'un bocal de poissons Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 5 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 170) 28 × 38 cm £20,000

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Buste de femme avec collier et bracelet Etching with chine collĂŠ, 1926. Signed in pencil and numbered 13 from the edition of 15. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 93) 44.7 Ă— 31 cm ÂŁ20,000

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Nu couché, sol en damier Etching, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 6 from the edition of 10. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 122) 28 × 38 cm £22,500

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Figure endormie sur fond moucharabieh Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 21 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 127) 38 × 28 cm £28,000

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La Main Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 18 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 129) 28 × 32 cm £22,500

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Jeune femme le visage enfoui dans les bras Etching with chine collĂŠ, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 25 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 168) 28.5 Ă— 38 cm ****

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Double portrait de Josette Gris Etching with chine collé, 1915. Signed in ink and inscribed 'Essai'. A proof aside from the edition of 15. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 64) 27.6 × 37 cm £16,000

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Jeune femme aux yeux noirs fixant un aquarium Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 17 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 179) 28 × 38 cm £20,000

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Nu couché. Intérieur à la lampe vénitienne Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 8 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 181) 28 × 38 cm £20,000

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Nu au miroir marocain Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 20 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 186) 37.5 × 28 cm £22,500

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Mouvement de danse Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 15 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 217) 38 × 28 cm £20,000

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Grand nu couché de trois - quarts Drypoint with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and inscribed 'État'. A proof aside from the edition of 8. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 218) 38 × 28.5 cm £22,500

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Jeune fille s'appuyant sur le dossier d'une chaise Etching with chine collĂŠ, 1934/35. Signed in pencil and numbered 11 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 243) 35.5 Ă— 27.5 cm ÂŁ20,000

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Nu au fauteuil Etching with chine collé, 1935. Signed in pencil and inscribed 'État' A proof aside from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 245) 38 × 28 cm £20,000

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Figure endormie dans un intérieur Etching with chine collé, 1929. Signed in pencil and numbered 7 from the edition of 25. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 180) 28 × 38 cm £20,000

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Portrait de Walter Pach Etching with chine collé, 1914. Signed in ink and inscribed 'tirage a quinze examples troisième epreuve' A proof aside from the edition of 15. Printed on velin d'Arches paper. (Duthuit 42) 28 × 18.7 cm £14,000

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'The living model, the naked body of a woman, is the privileged seat of feeling, but also of questioning... The model must mark you, awaken in you an emotion which you seek in turn to express' – Henri Matisse

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Published by Lyndsey Ingram Designed by Lucy Harbut Printed by Dayfold Cover image Figure endormie sur fond moucharabieh, etching with chine collé, 1929 (detail) Image p.2 Henri Matisse etchings hanging in Kasmin's London home. Photograph: Ricardo Labougle © The World of Interiors magazine Image p.4 Figure au visage coupé assise dans un intérieur, etching with chine collé, 1929 (detail) Image p.10 Figure endormie sur fond moucharabieh, etching with chine collé, 1929 (detail) Image p.55 Mouvement de danse etching with chine collé, 1929 (detail) Photography by Jamie George © 2018 Lyndsey Ingram


Henri Matisse – Etchings from the collection of J. Kasmin  

It is a great privilege that we are able to present this exquisite group of Matisse etchings on our 2018 Masterpiece booth. Collected ove...

Henri Matisse – Etchings from the collection of J. Kasmin  

It is a great privilege that we are able to present this exquisite group of Matisse etchings on our 2018 Masterpiece booth. Collected ove...