June 04, 2007

Matisse and Les Fleurs du Mal

Classical by conscience and education, modern by intuition, Baudelaire, divided by his own convictions, builds the model of a new and demanding poetry which founds his summet with Les Fleurs du Mal (here the whole text, in french). During the publication, the book is caught in the turmoil of a lawsuit for moral offense and for religious outrage - this last charge eventually dropped. Baudelaire is fined and forced to delete six pieces of the collection. The next edition, in 1861, fills out the first collection with thirty new poems. En 1866, Poulet-Malassis, Baudelaire's editor, who took refuge in Belgium, publishes under the title Les Épaves twenty three poems by Baudelaire of which the six censured pieces. For that, he will be condamned by the tribunal of Lille. The definitive and posthumous edition of 1868 is composed of 151 pieces, but again without the six censored poems. These will be pusblished, with those of Les Épaves, in 1869 at Brussels in a book entitled Complément aux Fleurs du Mal de Charles Baudelaire.

In 1944, Matisse, in regard of his friend Rouault who illustrated Les Fleurs du Mal in 1927 for the editor Vollard, chooses to illustrate the famous collection and makes a selection of 33 poems. The book includes an original etching for the frontispiece, 33 full-page photo-lithographs, 33 wood-engraved lettrines and 38 line-drawn decorations (10 full-page). The drawings, for the major part women faces, comprises also portraits of Baudelaire, Apollinaire and a self-portrait. In the book, published in 1947, the line is aerial and flimsy, representative of the painter's taste for uncluttered work, representative of his genius for simpleness.
(Sources : www.ac-strasbourg.fr/pedago/lettres/Fleurs - http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Fleurs_du_mal)

Currently, the librairie Loliée can offer you :
  • [Matisse] - Baudelaire - Les Fleurs du Mal. Paris, La Bibliothèque Française, 1947, 320 copies issued, signed by the artist.
  • Baudelaire - les Fleurs du Mal. Paris, Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1860, in-12, bound. Original edition with the first cover.