Ceramics by Maison Matisse

Face to face between the craftsman and his product...

On the initiative of the heirs of the painter, a new life is offered to his work. Contemporary designers are invited to create collections inspired by the world of Matisse. Starting with La Musique and its plates, jugs, dishes... freshly unpacked.

Photo: Henri Matisse archives/Estate. H. Matisse for the work of the artist, Christophe Boulze, Alice Cuvelier, Jérôme Galland, Hayon Studio, Carlo Lavatori, Maison Matisse, Asger Mortensen and Studio Bouroullec.

No, no, still no… For years, Matisse's heirs refused most of the derivative product projects presented. Not bold enough. Even less demanding. Their abundance nonetheless expressed a patent interest in the artist's work. What to do with this inheritance? How to extend Matisse's gaze in an unprecedented and new way? To these increasingly pressing questions, the great-grandchildren of the painter-sculptor end up answering contemporary creation. Why not ask emerging or confirmed designers to immerse themselves in Matisse's universe to give their interpretations and thus support his poetic and singular vision? The idea seduces the family. Jean-Matthieu Matisse in particular.

The decision was therefore taken to create Maison Matisse. It remains to "furnish" it. To help him in his task, the forty-something in charge of managing the collections calls on Eliana di Modica. Passionate about design and art, the former director of purchasing, editing and merchandising at Zadig & Voltaire analyzes everything about Matisse. She retains the need to share an aesthetic of forms and colors in balance.

The optimism, high standards and openness to the world that characterize the artist must also serve as a common thread. But on which medium to start? “Ceramics quickly imposed themselves,” confides the general manager of the house. Beyond the painter-sculptor's attachment to it, it is fully in line with our desire to highlight the work of the hand and to transmit this emotion. ".

In October 2019, Maison Matisse inaugurates a first collection of vases: 1869. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the artist's birth, limited series inspired by his universe and signed… Alessandro Mendini, Jaime Hayon and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec . Just that. “It seemed welcome to us that masters of design should pay homage to a master of painting. A way to stay with family. Just like the desire to entrust the creation of these pieces to the trusted craftsmen of committed designers. Immediate success. What a good thing to see the introduction at the end of March of a brand new collection: La Musique. Permanent this time, it is based on the work of the same name dating from 1939. “This discipline has always played a central role in Matisse's life. Not to mention the joie de vivre that she carries within her, ”explains Eliana di Modica. Better still, the painting deeply inspires Marta Bakowski. "The use of very refined forms allows the primary colors used to fully express themselves", explains the designer.


She was chosen to develop the plates, bottles, jugs and dishes for this second production. “The dream project! Maison Matisse inaugurates an approach that banishes the boundaries between design, craftsmanship and art. For weeks, Marta Bakowski studies the artist's language, before breaking down her canvas to retain key elements: philodendrons, the curves of women's silhouettes, guitars... So many subjects that she works on separately on paper. , then gradually on wooden models. The support, too, is treated separately. “He had to talk about the painting without interfering with the set decor. In fact, the choice falls on simple and generous shapes. The colors, finally, are also the subject of a dedicated study, in order to define the right shade for each of the iconographies selected. “Searching for essential forms, aiming for their balance… This work of synthesis turned out to be quite close to Matisse's creative process. And just as long. The development lasts more than a year and a half, as the level of requirements is high. Especially when it comes to selecting the right craftsman. The one capable of restoring the chosen colors, of respecting the desired matte appearance, while letting the hand of the man show through. A challenge. To be picked up again by the beginning of July, for the launch of a second permanent collection of furniture, wallpaper, etc., this time based on Interior with Aubergines (1911). An entire program…