The Fabric of Dreams

I would like to recapture that freshness of vision which is characteristic of extreme youth when all the world is new to it.” Henri Matisse

Text: Christina Zikou


Henri Matisse’s ancestors had been weavers for generations: textiles, a key to his visual imagination, were in his blood. He was raised in Bohain-en-Vermandois, an industrial textile center in France. His mother, who made hats and painted china, was the first to buy him art supplies and the first to advise him not to adhere to the “rules” of art, but rather listen to his emotions. “From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves”.

Still life with blue tablecloth

Odalisque in red trousers

Although he was to outgrow every other influence, textiles retained their power for him throughout his life. His studio in Nice constituted a nest of treasures – exotic Persian carpets, delicate Arab embroideries, richly hued African wall hangings, as well as colorful cushions, curtains, costumes, patterned screens, and backcloths.

Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Ground

Odalisque with Yellow Persian Robe and Anemones

The book “Matisse his art and his textiles: The fabic of Dreams” explores the painter’s relationship with the beautiful textiles which surrounded him from his earliest days. Charting how the fabrics he painted became the very fabric of his painting, the authors examine the ways in which one of the greatest pioneers in modern art history used what he called his “working library” of textiles to furnish, order, and compose his explosive and timeless works of art.

The Moorish Floor

*You can order the book online, by clicking here