Artwork information




Lithographic poster




104 cm x 78 cm


Signed lower left

Proof(s) of authenticity

Lithograph sold with a certificate of authenticity issued by the publisher Mourlot.

State of conservation

Very good




Paris, France


"L'art indépendant au Petit Palais": lithographic poster designed for the exhibition of the masters of independent art, made in 1937 by Fernand Mourlot and Henri Matisse after the original painting "Le rêve" of 1935.
It was on this occasion that Matisse and Fernand Mourlot met.

For the international exhibition "l'Art Indépendant" at the Petit Palais, in 1937, a large presentation of masterpieces of modern art was organized by Raymond Escholier, curator of this museum. He asked me to print the two posters announcing this prestigious event.

The first poster chosen was a large painting by Pierre Bonnard, Le Petit Déjeuner. I asked the master to advise me on the reproduction of his work. I had the satisfaction to learn that he was happy with our work.

A painting by Henri Matisse, Le Rêve, was chosen for the second poster. It was at this time that I met him.

Wishing to make a good reproduction - the chosen subject was delicate to print -, I asked Henri Matisse to receive me. Matisse was a character! nothing to do with Picasso or Derain... In front of them, one could always joke. Matisse kept a certain distance from his interlocutors. I called him, from the beginning and throughout our relationship, "Mr. Matisse" and he called me "Mr. Mourlot".

He received me very cordially.
- You are going to make a beautiful poster. Have you seen the painting? I think it will be quite difficult to reproduce because there are nuances that must be respected...

I brought him a model of the poster with the texts. Of course, he started by discussing the letter, and then he told me:
- You shouldn't put any colors in the headlines, the whole letter in black. You see, this letter is a little big. I would like to see the proofs because I am quite meticulous, and I want to have a nice poster.

Almost every day I went to see him with a different proof; we discussed it together. At the time he lived on Boulevard du Montparnasse, near the observatory.

At a certain point, he said to me:
- Bring me back the canvas, we will now work on your litho and do something else. Let's get away from the painting and make a good picture.

The colorist went back to work; it must be said that at that time color photography had not reached its present perfection. Handmade work was superior to photo mechanical processes, and was done by very skilled specialists. The result was excellent and when the poster was finished, Henri Matisse told me:
- I am satisfied and I am sure we will meet again..." Fernand Mourlot

This work is sold framed (see the last picture of the slideshow).


Mourlot's Collection

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The artist


Henri Matisse

Famous artistFamous artist
Born in 1869


Henri Matisse was born on December 31, 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis in France. Henri Matisse first studied law and became a notary clerk. At the age of 20, he remained in bed because of appendicitis, and so he discovered the joys of drawing and painting. 

He continued his studies, but also enrolled in a drawing course. In June 1890, he paints his first painting entitled "Nature morte avec des livres". Then, he moved to Paris where he joined the Beaux-Arts in 1895, in the studio of Gustave Moreau. In 1896, he met Auguste Rodin. Little by little, Henri Matisse turns to Impressionism, notably by discovering the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. He thus starts to use warmer colors and organizes his canvases with more rigor.

From 1904 on, he rubbed shoulders with Paul Signac and adopted pointillist techniques, but quickly moved away from them. His paintings at that time consisted of large areas of very bright colors. The more time passes and the more Matisse moves towards a simplification of his art, he even speaks of "art of balance, purity and tranquility". In 1905, he exhibited in the company of painters André Derain and Albert Marquet. The critic Louis Vauxcelles gave them the nickname "fauve": Fauvism was born! His art thus begins to be recognized in the high artistic spheres and he now lives quite comfortably.

In 1908, Henri Matisse began to paint "La Danse" for the famous collector Sergueï Chtchoukine. This painting is considered as his ultimate masterpiece, he also has a counterpart "La Musique". With its refined and colorful style, this painting symbolizes the simplification of painting imagined by Henri Matisse.

He continued to paint during the First World War and settled in Nice. In 1924, he tried his hand at sculpture. Suffering from colon cancer, Matisse is physically diminished, but he continues to draw. In addition, he develops collage techniques with the help of Lydia Délectorskaya. Henri Matisse died on November 3, 1954 in Nice.

Great master of fauvism and great artist of his time, Henri Matisse excelled in many artistic fields: painting, drawing, sculpture, engraving, stained glass and collage. 

"It is not possible for me to slavishly copy nature, which I am forced to interpret and submit to the spirit of the painting." Henri Matisse