Henri Matisse – Etchings from the Collection of John Kasmin
Featured at Masterpiece London, 28th June – 4th July 2018
Lyndsey Ingram returned to Masterpiece London this year with a stand devoted entirely to Matisse etchings from the John Kasmin Collection, exhibited publicly for the first time. This exquisite, single-owner collection of 22 small etchings from the 1920s-30s was compiled by the celebrated British art dealer and has hung in his London home since the 1980s. The collection contains iconic Matisse images, including the reclining nude, woman with goldfish bowl and the dancing figure. These small, intimate works of around six by ten inches each are on Chine Collé paper, which gives the works a kind of relief, so they look like little pen drawings.
As Kasmin comments: ‘I collected them mostly in the 1980s after seeing a show in Paris of etchings given by Jean Matisse to the French State. To me, they seem like prints of the artist’s mind at work, his thoughts while he was painting pictures or between painting bursts. At the time, they were relatively inexpensive. Most people didn’t notice these little works – they are tiny and beautiful, yet very private works, some made for friends – he gave most of them away. I bought them over a period of 10-12 years – I was drawn to them because they were remarkable, iconic Matisse images, and I realized they were overlooked, so I was able to amass all the images and make kind of story.’
Kasmin is selling the works because, he says, ‘I’ve been looking at them for around thirty years and I think I’ve squeezed all the pleasure I can out of them – it’s time for someone else to enjoy them. I’ve known Lyndsey for years – I trust her to treat them well and find a good home for them.’
Lyndsey Ingram comments:
‘Many people associate Kasmin with British art of the 1960s and ’70s. But he has a wide variety of artistic interests and a discerning eye. Kasmin is particularly interested in the beauty of line, which is as apparent in these Matisse etchings as it is in the David Hockney works he championed when the artist was a young man. Delicate, intimate and extremely rare, these etchings were all bought for Kasmin’s personal collection and the entire group hung elegantly along the stairwell of his home for many years. I’ve been admiring them for over 20 years, so it is a huge privilege to be able to show them at Masterpiece.’
Kasmin discussed his Matisse collection and the nature of collecting with Martin Gayford, author of Modernists and Mavericks, at Masterpiece on 3 July, followed by drinks and a book signing on the Lyndsey Ingram stand. Click here to listen to their discussion.