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Published: Wed August 02, 2006  News Feed
Over the years, many people have referred to Taylor guitars as “works of art.” Never has that description been more apt than when applied to the one-of-a-kind Matisse Guitar, which was created to benefit a very worthy cause.

The Matisse Guitar is the result of a collaboration between Taylor Guitars and Pierre H. Matisse, grandson of famed French painter Henri Matisse (1869-1954). The soundboard of the T5 bears a custom painting and painted autograph by Matisse, whose art has turned this fully functioning, premium instrument into a collectors’ item, objet d’art, and conversation piece.

The Matisse Guitar is being auctioned off in conjunction with the La Jolla Festival of the Arts, which took place in June in San Diego. Proceeds from that event, and from the T5 auction, go to 25 different programs that provide recreational and educational programs for more than 1500 people with disabilities in the San Diego area.

Born in Paris, Matisse grew up immersed in the world of art. His father, Jean Matisse, was a sculptor; his mother, Louise Milhau, was a painter, sculptor, and ceramist. As for his grandfather, Pierre once told Taylor clinician Doyle Dykes that when he was a boy, he accompanied Henri Matisse to a Parisian café where they listened to some great live jazz. At one point, the elder Matisse took Pierre’s hand and crossed the floor to introduce the boy to guitarist Django Reinhardt. When people in the club stepped aside with great deference to allow the Matisses to pass, Pierre realized for the first time that his grandpa was famous.

Not surprisingly, much of Pierre’s childhood was spent in the artistic circles of Paris and the French Riviera, and he was fortunate to know some of the 20th Century’s most acclaimed artists, including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Salvador Dali, and Marcel Duchamp. Today, he is known as “the American Matisse” and lives in Florida, where he applies his creative talents and boundless energies to painting, writing, teaching, and redefining an art formally known as “cut-outs”.

As generous as he is driven to create, Pierre has donated or created commissioned pieces for innumerable charitable organizations, including Project Hope, the American Red Cross, the National Epilepsy Foundation, the Music Educators National Conference, the UNICEF Orphans Foundation, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Bidding on the Matisse Guitar began at $10,000.  Closed bids are being accepted until 1st September 2006, with the winning bid being announced on the Taylor website in mid-October.

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