Henri Matisse, Polyphème from Ulysses, 1935

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Artist: Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)
Title: Polyphème from Ulysses, 1935
Reference: Duthuit239
Series: Ulysses, 1935
Medium: Soft Ground Etching
Image Size: 11 3/16 in x 8 7/8 in (30 cm x 22.5 cm)
Sheet Size: 16 1/4 x 12 3/8 in in (41.3 cm x 31.4 cm)
Framed Size: approx. 21 3/4 in x 18 1/4 in (55.2 cm x 46.4 cm)
Edition: Numbered from the edition of 150 in pencil in the lower left margin
Signature: Published by Limited Editions Club, New York
Condition: This work is in excellent condition
Gallery Price: Price on Request Submit Best Offer Inquire
ID # W-6183

This scene, taken from James Joyce’s modern rendition of Homer’s Odyssey, highlights Matisse’s mastery in depicting human figure. The composition and form of the Cyclops is extremely heightened in the foreground, whereas Odysseus is miniscule in scale compared to his enemy. The heightening exacerbates the effect of a mighty but graceful death. We can see its arm twisted but elongated to parallel the floor, its broad muscular chest heaving, and mortar like legs extending beyond the architectural frame of the work. Such techniques testify to Matisse’s abilities in how to capture the viewer’s attention in such a small frame.   

Henri Matisse, one of the forefathers of Fauvism, renders a charming yet painful scene in his Polyphème from Ulysses, 1935. Odysseus pierces the eye of the Cyclops with a sense of violent monstrosity, where Matisse depicts a horrific death. Although tragic and gruesome to some degree, there is a kind of courage and viscous strength the audience can see behind Odysseus’ body language. For Matisse, this depiction is unusual from most of his works in that death was not a recurring theme.

Created in 1935, Henri Matisse Polyphème from Ulysses, 1935 is a soft ground etching. Numbered from the edition of 150, this work is hand-signed by Henri Matisse (Le Cateau-Cambrésis, 1869 - Nice, 1954) in pencil in the lower right margin. This work was published by Limited Editions Club, New York.

Catalogue Raisonné & COA:

Henri Matisse Polyphème from Ulysses, 1935 is fully documented and referenced in the below catalogue raisonnés and texts (copies will be enclosed as added documentation with the invoices accompanying the final sale of the work).

1. Duthuit-Matisse, Marguerite, Henri Matisse: Catalogue raisonné de lœuvre grave Tome I. Paris: Claude Duthuit, 1983, Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 239

2. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this work.

About the Framing:

Framed to museum-grade, conservation standards, Henri Matisse Polyphème from Ulysses, 1935 is presented in a complementary moulding and optical-grade Plexiglas.

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