Henri Matisse found inspiration in poetry, including the work of Charles d'Orléans, to whom he pays homage in his 1950 portfolio Poemes de Charles d'Orléans. D'Orléans, member of the French royal family of Valois, has been called the father of French lyric poetry and reputedly the sender of the first valentine.
Matisse developed an interest in the rondeaux, ballads, and songs of Charles d'Orleans while working on Ronsard's Amours. After selecting portions of the famous troubadour's poetry, Matisse wrote out the poems in black pencil and surrounded the text with color lithographic borders. Since d'Orléans physical appearance remains historically undocumented, Matisse complied the features of various family members for his rendering of the poet. The portfolio's 54 photolithographs include an extensive study of the different variations on the theme of the fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the French monarchy.
The portfolio was published by Teriade in 1950. The lithographs were printed by Mourlot Freres in Paris, in an edition of 1,200 with 30 Hors Commerce sets. All editions are numbered and hand-signed by Matisse on the justification page.
Please browse our website to learn more about the Art of Henri Matisse and view his other portfolios.