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Luxury Book illustrated by Matisse

Late a night, when Jeff Bezos knows nobody is watching, he puts down his Kindle and browses through his ultra-rare book collection.  One of the fine bindings in his collection may very well be Stéphane Mallarmé's Poésies which is one of these impossible to find collectors books. Stéphane Mallarmé's Poésies was illustrated by Henri Matisse and has a value of 30 to 40 thousand Euro.

Throughout his long and productive career, Henri Matisse periodically refreshed his creative energies by turning from painting to drawing, sculpture and other forms of artistic expression. A great source of inspiration was poetic. The poetry or poetic prose Henri Matisse loved was intimate, sensuous and personal. In his later years he developed the practice of reading poetry early each day before he raised a paint brush, pencil or etching needle. Matisse noted that poetry was like oxygen: "just as when you leap out of bed you fill your lungs with fresh air." This kept him young at heart.

In his lifetime he also produced more than a dozen illustrated books which were known as “livre d’artiste” (artist’s book), a specific type of illustrated book that became common in France around the turn of the century thanks to the pioneering efforts of Albert Skira and Tériade. These books were deluxe, limited editions, meant to be collected and admired as works of art, as well as, read.

His first book, Poésies, of 1932, included mythologically inspired images based on texts by Stéphane Mallarmé, while his Jazz of 1947, known for its brightly colored pochoirs, is widely considered one of the most important illustrated books of the modern period.

This exceptionally rare copy of Stéphane Mallarmé's Poésies dates back to 1932. This fine binding was published by Skira in Paris in a limited edition of 145 copies. It was fully illustrated by Henri Matisse and bears Henri Matisse's hand signature. Henri Matisse illustrated it for the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) which has long been regarded by artists, esthetes and specialists in modernist thought as one of the saints of the artistic vocation. In his lifetime he enjoyed the friendship and esteem of Manet, Renoir, Redon, Degas, Gauguin and Whistler, and in the 20th century he continued to exert a considerable influence on writers, painters, composers and masters of the ballet.

"I do not distinguish between the construction of a book and that of a
painting and I always proceed from the simple to the complex." - Henri Matisse 1946

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