The art books of Henri Matisse - in pictures

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An exhibition of art books by one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Henri Matisse (1869-1954), opens at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool this weekend.

The show includes 63 framed original illustrations with text from four of Matisse’s most significant books, including his famous Jazz (1947).

Best known for his boldly coloured paintings, Matisse created a body of work that also included drawings, prints, cut-outs and sculpture, as well as costume and stage set designs.

The artist did not make illustrated books until his late 60s, but the same flowing lines that characterised his oils and pencil studies are carried over to the printmaking medium.

The four Matisse art books featured in the exhibition are Poésies de Stéphane Mallarmé, 1932; Pasiphaé-Chant de Minos (les Crétois), 1944; Jazz, 1947, and Poèmes de Charles d’Orléans, 1950.

Jazz (1947): Matisse's most famous book is one of the most celebrated artists’ books in the history of modern art. It features one of the artist's most widely reproduced images – the iconic illustration of Icarus as a languid black figure with a red circle at his heart, plunging downwards against a royal blue night sky, surrounded by yellow stars.

In addition to the core group of Matisse works, a number of artists’ books from the Walker Art Gallery's permanent collection will also be on view, by artists such as Ed Ruscha, Derek Boshier, Gilbert & George, Tom Phillips and Jeff Nuttall.

The Art Books of Henri Matisse is at the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool from 21 October 2011 to 15 April 2012