Modern Figures and Portraits, 1906 - 1939
April 15 – May 15, 2006

Leslie Sacks Fine Art
11640 San Vicente Blvd. (Brentwood), Los Angeles, CA 90049
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310.820-9448, Fax 310.2071757
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(l.) Henri Matisse, “L’Etude pour ‘La France’”, 1939, charcoal on paper, 20 5/8 x 16 inches.
(r.) Henri Matisse, ”Grande odalisque à la culotte bayadére”, 1925, lithograph on China paper, 21 1/4 x 17 15/16 inches.

Matisse, along with Picasso, was among the very first radically modern figurative artists. This is evidenced by his 1906 lithograph, Le Grand Nu. In this seminal work Matisse takes Cezanne’s dictum that all figures are based on the sphere, the cylinder and the cone, and interpreting this theorem quite literally reduces a figure to little more these geometric elements and presents this draftsman like sketch as a completed work, thus leaving no doubt about this as he publishes the seemingly incomplete drawing as an edition. Avant Garde indeed!  Similarly, the bold, 1939 charcoal drawing in this show, L’Etude por La France, creates a powerful presence by the mere suggestion of form. 
Shortly after the close of World War I, Matisse, Picasso and many other Avant Garde artists returned to more familiar styles, as though attempting to restore stability to their lives in war torn Europe. At that time, Matisse settled mainly in Nice and created many classically based drawings, the greatest of which is Grande Odalisque à la Culotte Bayadère, 1925. This drawing, rendered as an original lithograph, is among the most important prints of the 20th century. An example of this work is featured in this exhibition. Also included is a quintessentially Fauve period bronze, Nu Campe Bras sur la Tete from 1906, several Nice period lithographic contour drawings, a tightly rendered Nice period portrait in the manner of Grande Odalisque, and two portrait etchings from 1914 characterized by his unique ability to render a subject with ultimate economy of line.

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