CBL | Exhibitions | The Art Books of Henri Matisse
Skip Navigation

The Art Books of Henri Matisse

26 May to 25 September 2011

In association with

The Library and Bank of America Merrill Lynch present this exciting exhibition of the art books of Henri Matisse, marking the first public display of these works in Europe. The exhibition features four of Matisse’s most artistically significant books, including the famous Jazz, on loan from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection.

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. He did not begin his work with illustrated books until his late sixties, but he considered them amongst the works of which he was most proud. Matisse regarded the prints he created for these books as an extension of his drawing. The same flowing lines that characterised his oils and pencil studies carried over to the printmaking medium and related illustrations.

Two Matisse books from the Library’s own collection are also on display: Poèmes de Charles d’Orléans (1950), which is inscribed from Matisse to Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), and a copy of Matisse’s illustrated version of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1935), which was acquired by the Library in 2009.  Beatty and Matisse knew each other and shared an interest in Persian miniatures and Japanese prints, which they both collected.  Beatty visited Matisse in Nice, where they both had homes, and the inscribed book was probably given to him as a gift directly from the artist.  Beatty’s wife, Edith, also knew Matisse and had two of his paintings in her personal collection. 

There are a number of events organised as part of the exhibition programme, including talks, art workshops, a cooking demonstration, the Silk Worm Summer Club, films and more.  Please check our Events Schedule page for details.

This exhibition is provided by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art in our Communities programme.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch received the Allianz Business to Arts Judges’ Special Recognition Award on 5 September 2011 for their relationships with arts organisations in Ireland including the Chester Beatty Library. The award recognises impact, innovation and creativity.


Please click here for a sample of media coverage of this exhibition.

For information on other exhibitions at the Library, please click here.