Matisse: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art

Opening next weekend: Few artists are as lucky in their patrons as Henri Matisse (1869-1954), the French painter whose long career will be celebrated in a colorful exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. For 50 years, a pair of sisters from Baltimore were devoted to his art, visiting him in Paris and Nice and buying more than 500 paintings, sculptures and drawings that they later bequeathed to their hometown art museum. Claribel Cone, a doctor, and her musician sister Etta were passionate about Matisse’s startlingly modern art, including “The Yellow Dress” (1929-31), shown here. They loved his landscapes and still lifes, his portraits and family scenes, and even his lush nudes — although they were prim Victorian gals themselves. Eighty of Matisse’s masterpieces from the Cone collection will be featured along with Matisse paintings, drawings and books from the museum’s own collection and paintings by American artists he influenced. Matisse kept a sunny spirit in his art through two world wars, the Great Depression and personal tragedies that included the imprisonment and torture of his daughter for her resistance to the Nazi occupation of France. A harsh Minnesota winter is nothing compared with that, so grab a ticket and escape into a Matissian moment. See a story about the exhibit in next Sunday’s Star Tribune. (Feb. 23-May 18, $16 weekdays, $20 weekends. 2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls., 612-870-6323.)