‘Henri Matisse: Dessins. Themes et Variations’ Rare book or time machine?


It’s not unusual for a book to show the expanse of an artist’s work but Henri Matisse: Dessins. Themes et Variations, published in 1943 and limited to 950 copies offers something more intimate.

Dessins. Themes et Variations is a portfolio of drawings consisting of 158 plates produced in lithography and presented on single loose leaf pages. Comprising 17 themes and variations of each subject, the drawings executed over a short period of two years act as a record to the artist’s commitment to draw every day and a life devoted to line.

Louis Aragon, Martin Fabiani (ed.) Henri Matisse Dessins: Thèmes et Variations Martin Fabiani, Paris, 1943 / From the James C Sourris, AM, Collection of Rare Books, purchased with funds from James C Sourris, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2011 / Collection: QAGOMA Research Library

Jacklyn Young is Librarian (Collections), QAGOMA