A vintage 1972 full color art print of Henri Matisse's painting Joaquina (1911) hand tipped in on heavy vintage paper, affixed to chipboard backing, mounted on black foam core, and set in a 15" x 18" weathered wood frame.

Notes on the work circa 1972: Matisse long had his wife pose for him, and later his daughter or the models who came to Manguin's studio, his own Academy, or elsewhere. As he himself admitted, he always needed - and continued to do so until the end of his life - the presence of beings or objects to generate sensations and thereby stimulate his creative faculties. He is never concerned with painting a portrait as such; rather, he presents silhouettes, human types whose particular characteristics he notes, not without a certain brutality.

In his Notes d'un peintre he defines his attitude as follows: "My chief interest lies neither in still lifes nor in landscapes, but in the figure. It is the figure that best enables me to express the almost religious feeling that I have for life. I don't try to depict in detail all the facial features, or render them one by one with anatomical precision. If I have an Italian model who at first sight suggests only the idea of a purely animal existence, I nonetheless discover certain essential features in her, I explore among the lines of her face those which reveal the lofty gravity that exists in every human being. A work must inwardly contain its whole meaning and convey it to the spectator before he even knows its subject."

These explanations make it easier to accept certain figures where the violent use of color or linear distortions may seem startling and in fact shocked even Matisse's friends, not to mention Vauxcelles, who described them as "Kanaka faces." Although this Joaquina, painted in Seville in 1911, shows a close kinship with the Expressionist movement, as Jean Leymarie and Jean Cassou have pointed out, Matisse nevertheless does not share its fundamental tenets. With serenity and scrupulous respect he notes the marked idiosynera-cies of these "expressive heads," as he calls them, but gives precedence to plastic problems in order better to transcend reality and preserve the nobility of his hymn to life.

The years pass, and age and sickness begin to weigh heavily on him, but he never renounces his passion for the human figure and draws from it endless variations in which elation and sublimation are always blended. Often the faces have even been replaced by a simple oval, but the evocative force persists through the radiant harmony of color and form, even when the latter is only a paper cutout.