Matisse – Metamorphoses

Matisse – Metamorphoses

Matisse as a gifted sculptor: metamorphoses from his paintings and drawings



Title Information

Edited by Kunsthaus Zürich. With contributions by Sandra Gianfreda, Claudine Grammont, Gaku Kondo, Bärbel Küster, Ellen McBreen, and christian M. Schweizer

1st edition

, 2019


232 pages, 169 color and 37 b/w illustrations

22 x 27 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-836-2

In collaboration with Musée Matisse, Nizza


Henri Matisse (1869–1954) is adored worldwide as a revolutionary painter and loved for his collages, or papiers découpés, the icons of his late work. His work in painting and drawing for a long time overshadowed his achievements as a sculptor. Yet his Back Series, four bas-reliefs created between 1908 and 1930, are revered as a milestone in modern sculpture. Starting out from a naturalistic depiction, Matisse gradually transformed it to reach a radically abstracted figure. Each of the four original plaster casts represents a decisive moment of this artistic process.

This transformative process has parallels in Matisse’s painting and drawing. Published in conjunction with a major exhibition at Kunsthaus Zürich marking the artist’s 150th anniversary, this is the first book to explore the relation between metamorphosis and feedback in both main fields of the artist’s work. His diverse sources of inspiration for his sculptures—photographs of nudes, examples from African and ancient art—as well as photographs featuring Matisse at work as sculptor, round out this volume. It is a welcome addition to any art library, highlighting the lesser known side of this modern master.


Deutsche Ausgabe

Édition française

Authors & Editors

Sandra Gianfreda

Claudine Grammont

Gaku Kondo

Kunsthaus Zürich

 is one of Europe’s leading art museums. Its permanent collection comprises masterpieces from medieval to contemporary art with a focus on French impressionism, post-impressionism, and classical modernism.

Bärbel Küster

Ellen McBreen

Christian M. Schweizer