Rare book or time machine?

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, and held in the Queensland Art Gallery Research Library.

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.

It 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.

The portfolio is currently on display in ‘Matisse: Drawing Life‘ until 4 March 2012