Matisse: Masterworks from The Baltimore Museum of Art
February 23–May 18, 2014
Target Galleries | Ticketed Exhibition
MINNEAPOLIS, MN, DECEMBER 11, 2013–This February, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) offers a respite from winter with an enthusiastic jolt of color and life in “Matisse: Masterworks from The Baltimore Museum of Art,” an exhibition of approximately 80 paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings by Henri Matisse. Spanning the length and breadth of his career, the works are drawn almost entirely from the legendary Cone Collection at The Baltimore Museum of Art, one of the most comprehensive caches of his work in the world. On view from February 23 to May 18, 2014, “Matisse” is a rare and perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this renowned body of work.
“ Endlessly creative, wildly influential, and unapologetically interested in joy and beauty, Matisse redefined the use of color, form, and balance—he is arguably the father of modern art,” says exhibition curator Erika Holmquist-Wall. “We are honored to present his work to the Twin Cities community on such a large scale.”
From landscapes to nudes, still lifes to interiors, the exhibition’s varied and vivid works explore the shifts in Matisse’s style over time—with a crowd-pleasing emphasis on his popular early paintings. Highlights include the iconic Large Reclining Nude (1935), Purple Robe and Anemones (1937), Two Girls, Red and Green Background, Interior, Flowers and Parakeets (1924), and the artist’s book Jazz.
Matisse fondly referred to sisters Claribel and Etta Cone as “my two Baltimore ladies,” and together the women assembled one of the world’s most important art collections. In the early 20th century, the pair frequently traveled to Paris, visited Matisse and Picasso in their studios before they were famous, and purchased their art. Gertrude and Leo Stein, their well-connected friends and fellow art collectors, guided their collecting instincts. And thanks to resources from the Cone family’s textile business, the two women filled their Baltimore apartments with art from floor to ceiling, building their collection at a time when there were few American patrons of the avant-garde. Over 40 years, the sisters built a particularly close relationship with Matisse, acquiring more than 500 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints from the entire span of his career. The donations of Claribel and Etta Cone to The Baltimore Museum of Art comprise the museum’s esteemed Cone Collection.
Four concurrent companion exhibitions, collectively titled “More Matisse, Please!”, will dive deeper into the master’s work and influence. Three of these exhibitions feature Matisse works from the MIA’s permanent collection: his book illustrations, his paintings and sculpture, and his drawings and prints. The other companion exhibition is “Chasing Matisse: American Moderns Under the Influence,” exploring his impact on American painters in the early 20th century. “Chasing Matisse” showcases paintings loaned to the MIA by Myron Kunin, a passionate collector and generous benefactor of American art who passed away in October 2013. The exhibitions of “More Matisse, Please!” are free admission.
“ Matisse: Masterworks from The Baltimore Museum of Art” is organized and circulated by The Baltimore Museum of Art. The lead sponsor of the exhibition is The Crosby Family Fund for Exhibitions, and the major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and Thomson Reuters. Generous support for “Matisse” is provided by Christie’s.
ABOUT HENRI MATISSE
Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and perhaps the most universally beloved. His stylistic innovations fundamentally altered the course of modern art. In a career spanning six decades, his achievements in painting, sculpture, drawing, graphic arts, book illustration and paper cutouts earned the acclaim of collectors, critics, his contemporaries, and generations of younger artists.
Matisse trained as a lawyer before developing an interest in art. He moved to Paris to study painting in 1891 and eventually
became a fixture of the bohemian Montmartre neighborhood where Picasso, Mondrian, and others worked. He followed the traditional academic path, first at the Académie Julian and then at the École des Beaux Arts, before discovering a dynamic contemporary Parisian art scene. He began to experiment with a variety of styles to create his own pictorial language. In 1905, he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne with André Derain, and their shockingly bold experiments
using color to structure their paintings earned them the derisive nickname “Les Fauves” (Wild Beasts).
He experimented throughout his career with abandoning conventional perspective and form in favor of dramatically simplified areas of pure color, flat shapes and decorative patterns. Across a succession of stylistic periods, Matisse aimed to discover the “essential character of things” through art that expressed balance and serenity.
MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS
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