As you will see in “Matisse in the Studio,” opening to the public April 9 in the Gund Gallery, Henri Matisse drew inspiration from the themes and objects that surrounded him in his everyday life, constantly reinventing himself as an artist. As Matisse himself stated, he did not paint an object so much as the emotion that it stirred in him.
This spring’s exhibitions and offerings at the MFA are indeed inspiring; from the studio of Matisse, the camera of Henryk Ross, and the ethereal genius of Botticelli, opening April 15, come stirring images that reveal the human desire to take what surrounds us and connect, commemorate, interpret, create.
“Matisse in the Studio” represents the first major Matisse exhibition at the MFA in fifty years. This exhibition breaks new ground in the originality and the scholarship of its core concept—Matisse’s collection of objects and their influence on his work.
The pioneering catalogue Matisse in the Studio, written by the curators and featuring contributions by Matisse scholars, explains the artist and his penchant as a collector and arranger of objects and fabrics. These objects came from both France and abroad, with global influences bringing an infusion of color, pattern, and shape from African, Islamic and Asian cultures to one of the great Western artists of the 20th century. As these catalysts echo, repeat, and amplify each other, we find new insights into Matisse’s creativity, his paths to genius.
This exhibition is an international collaboration among institutions and lenders. We’re proud to be the only US venue and to see it travel to the Royal Academy of Arts in London in August. “Matisse in the Studio” could not have been possible without an array of lenders—in particular, the Musée Matisse—and supporters like Bank of America. A portion of the funding was also supplied by the National Endowment of the Arts—a reminder of the crucial support that this agency and the National Endowment for the Humanities provide to cultural institutions throughout the country.
Ann and Graham Gund Director