Galerie des Ponchettes
Exhibition “Matisse in posters”

Poster “Henri Matisse: paintings, drawings, sculptures, tapestries”
Galerie des Ponchettes, Nice, 1950
© Estate of H. Matisse for the work of the artist
Photo credit: Ville de Nice - Musée Matisse

A word from the general curator

“Matisse’s first exhibition in Nice took place at the Palais de la Méditerranée in 1946. Another, a few years later, in 1950, inaugurated the new Galerie des Ponchettes. We still have the poster which Matisse designed himself. It will be the first work on show in the exhibition “Matisse in posters” which will evoke the way in which Matisse’s career was punctuated by posters of which he was sometimes the author, sometimes the subject, sometimes the inspiration. I gladly entrusted this project to Emmanuel Bérard, Director of Marketing and Communication at Artcurial. For twenty years he has been an expert connoisseur of the history of graphic design. As such he taught the history of graphic design at the École supérieure d'Art de Design in Reims and contributed to the edition of the Cahiers of the Mnam-Centre Pompidou which was devoted to graphic design (2004). He also co-curated an exhibition dedicated to the great Dutch graphic designer Wim Crouwel (2007).”
Jean-Jacques Aillagon

Presentation by the curator of the exhibition

At the heart of the scheduling of Nice 2013. A Summer for Matisse, the exhibition presented by the Galerie des Ponchettes explores two subjects which are both found in the intentionally ambiguous title given to this exhibition: “Matisse in posters”.
The first of these subjects is the conception of posters by Matisse. Born in 1869, Matisse was a contemporary of this communication tool which resulted from the spread of lithography and the emergence of a new generation of artists who enthusiastically adopted this support. Protected by a law which allowed posters to be put up wherever they were not forbidden (the “Posters forbidden” law of 29 July 1881), the poster rapidly became an expressive support for painters Bonnard, Toulouse Lautrec, Chéret or Mucha who found in this way that their work was multiplied and available to be seen by passers-by in large towns. It was no doubt into this landscape saturated with advertising images which made, according to Claude Roger-Marx, “the walls of the city sing“ that Matisse arrived in Paris, in 1891, to study at the Académie Julian.
However, Matisse would not really become a “poster artist”. While this medium, like so many others, was explored by Picasso, Matisse gave more time to the design of publications and illustrated books. This is why one can count on the fingers of one hand the posters which were truly designed by Matisse, those where the text as well as the image are from the hand of the master and where the arrangement of these two elements is marked by the creative spirit of Matisse. All these posters, rarely brought together, and of which some are rare examples, will be shown at the Galerie des Ponchettes.
The second subject is the extraordinary production of posters around or inspired by Matisse. In his lifetime, Matisse paid great attention, alongside Fernand Mourlot, his trusted lithographer, to the design of posters for exhibitions of his work. Whether they were for galleries or museums, each one received the approval of the master, while not being in any way “works” by Matisse. Sold, exchanged and collected, these posters brought together in the exhibition nevertheless trace a style of poster unique to Matisse, marked by classical elegance which allows the work reproduced to fully express itself. When the master died, other graphic artists took up this fabulous artistic material to create, in their turn, posters displaying great liberty as well as a modern and renewed look at the work of Matisse. Of course, the aura of Matisse goes beyond the circle of art lovers and its visual inventions, his “style” or his “manner” would soon break into the everyday visual landscape. While advertising, that great visual recycling machine, would soon take hold of some elements of his vocabulary, it will give us greater pleasure to see how major graphic artists or poster artists have used certain elements of the Matisse “style” right up to today. Sometimes in an obvious way, but often in more enigmatically, these posters demonstrate, although it is hardly necessary to do so, the influence Matisse had on the visual culture of the twentieth century.
Emmanuel Bérard

A word from the general curator

“Matisse’s first exhibition in Nice took place at the Palais de la Méditerranée in 1946. Another, a few years later, in 1950, inaugurated the new Galerie des Ponchettes. We still have the poster which Matisse designed himself. It will be the first work on show in the exhibition “Matisse in posters” which will evoke the way in which Matisse’s career was punctuated by posters of which he was sometimes the author, sometimes the subject, sometimes the inspiration. I gladly entrusted this project to Emmanuel Bérard, Director of Marketing and Communication at Artcurial. For twenty years he has been an expert connoisseur of the history of graphic design. As such he taught the history of graphic design at the École supérieure d'Art de Design in Reims and contributed to the edition of the Cahiers of the Mnam-Centre Pompidou which was devoted to graphic design (2004). He also co-curated an exhibition dedicated to the great Dutch graphic designer Wim Crouwel (2007).”
Jean-Jacques Aillagon


Poster “Henri Matisse”
Musée national d’Art moderne, Paris, 1956
© Estate of H. Matisse for the work of the artist
Photo credit: Ville de Nice - Musée Matisse

Practical Information

Galerie des Ponchettes

77, quai des Etats-Unis - 06364 Nice cedex 4
Tel: (+33) (0)4 93 62.31.24
www.mamac-nice.org
- Every day from 10 am to 6 pm except Mondays, 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December
- Access: Tram : stop Opéra vieille ville and Cathédrale vieille ville

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