Exclusive: Matisse show coming to Bechtler Museum

Work by French artist Henri Matisse will be exhibited at Charlotte’s Bechtler Museum of Modern Art starting Feb. 27.

On loan from the Bank of America Collection, “The Art Books of Henri Matisse” includes 80 framed illustrations with text from some of Matisse’s most significant books.

Four of Matisse’s art books are featured, including “Jazz,” one of the most celebrated artists’ books in modern art. It features one of Matisse’s most widely reproduced images – Icarus, depicted as a languid black figure with a red circle at his heart, plunging downward against a royal blue night sky, surrounded by yellow stars.

Matisse (1869-1954) is a significant figure in modern art and is known for his boldly colored paintings. He also created drawings, prints, cut-outs and sculpture, costume and stage set designs.

He started creating illustrated books in his late 60s, and the same flowing lines that characterized his oils and pencil studies were carried over to printmaking. The San Antonio Museum of Art recently showed the books.

Artists’ books from the Bechtler’s permanent collection will be featured in the Matisse exhibition, which runs through Sept. 7. The museum’s “British Invasion” exhibition closes Feb. 18.

“It is only after years of preparation that the young artist should touch color,” Matisse said. “Not color used descriptively, that is, but as a means of personal expression.”