Matisse in the 1930s
The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents “Matisse in the 1930s” in collaboration with the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and the Musée Matisse Nice. This is the first major exhibition dedicated to a pivotal decade for Henri Matisse, one of the giants of twentieth-century art.
The exhibition contains 140 works from public and private collections in the United States and Europe. These range from both renowned and rarely seen paintings and sculptures, to drawings and prints, to illustrated books. It also features documentary photographs and films.
The narrative is organized chronologically. A prelude, called Interiors and Odalisques, looks at Matisse’s so-called Nice period of 1917–30.
The second section looks at Matisse’s reinvigoration of his art through two parallel projects. The Barnes mural was his first and only opportunity to make a painted decoration for a specific architectural space. Also included is his first major illustrated book. This was an edition of poems by the influential poet Stéphane Mallarmé.
Visitor will next encounter a section called Artist and Model. This will examines Matisse’s move to a bold, elemental style in drawings and easel paintings of the nude figure.
The following section, Painted Decorations, examines Matisse’s continuing engagement with a decorative and architectural mode. At this time in his career, he experimented in the genre of painted tapestry cartoons.
A compact section called A Mural in Motion introduces the importance of dance in the artist’s works. In 1938–39, Matisse collaborated with the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo to create a ballet called “Red and Black.”
The narrative of “Matisse in the 1930s” closes with an epilogue centered on a major turning point. In January 1941, Matisse underwent a risky operation for abdominal cancer. After this brush with death, he spoke of embarking on a second artistic life.
“Matisse in the 1930s” opened Oct. 20, 2022 and will be on view through Jan. 29, 2023.
24HourNation appreciates the fact that the museum stays open past 5 p.m. on Fridays for nighttime patrons and advocates.
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