Duke Ellington was amongst the foremost artists of the 20th Century - the Pablo Picasso of the piano, if you will. Famously, he visited with Joan MirÓ in the south of France in 1966. A draughtsman himself, it is entirely appropriate that Ellington's work should be graced with the finest of art.
Here, for example, and auctioned recently online, is art work after Matisse, again from 1966, which appeared on the printed programme for an Ellington performance. Details of the auction read:
"Up for auction is a Scarce, finely printed original program for Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Patrons of Art and Music at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor Present Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, September 15, 1966.
Design and letterpress printed by Lawton and Alfred Kennedy, this handsome piece, printed in black, red and blue lettering includes works performed by Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and others.
Cover design is an adaptation of “Cutouts” by Henri Matisse. One large sheet folded twice to make a booklet with a listing of the Ellington Orchestra on the back of the program (including Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Mercer Ellington and others).
Right edge deckled. In excellent condition with some small square of old sticker residue on the upper center of the back of program. An uncommon an scarce mid-1960s Ellington Bay Area program. Measures h-10 ½ x w-7 inches."