Caroline Wiseman Modern & Contemporary

Matisse's most romantic work is a series of original lithographs entitled Florilege des Amours de Ronsard. In the early 1940s, Matisse was recovering in bed from a serious operation. He had always loved the poetry of the medieval poet Ronsard and as he read the sonnets he imagined images to accompany the vivid passages of romantic and often erotic love.  His young and beautiful  Russian assistant, Lydia, was the model for many of the images.  It was decided that he would make a series of original lithographs to accompany the poetry for a magnificent unbound album. In the event, he made over 100 original lithographs and Florilege became one of his major works of art, he said: "this work has become so essential, so crucial." 

The images are not reproductions of drawings, for no drawings exist. Matisse drew each image onto wafer-thin transfer paper which was wetted and rubbed onto limestone thus transferring the image as the transfer paper dissolved. The limestone was then pressed down onto Arches paper, so transferring the image to the paper.  An edition of 320 was made from each limestone image and the text of the accompanying poetry was printed alongside.  None of the images was ever signed individually; Matisse signed the back of the numbered album.

In addition, some extremely rare impressions, perhaps one or two in each case, of a few of the images, were printed from the limestone onto another two types of paper, a Ronsard watermarked grey paper and a smooth ivory japan paper. None of these proofs has text and are sometimes unique and always extremely rare and very special. Caroline Wiseman acquired all the proofs from the printer L'Atelier Mourlot.

Please email me or ring me on 07808723309 if you would like more information or to reserve a work. I have a few more from this series, both rare proofs and from the edition of 320 and can send images on request. Each work is mounted ready for a frame of your choice, and can be sent to you in time for Valentine's day.