Celebrating leisure and sensuality, Henri Matisse used bold colors to depict voluptuous models in lush settings. At his aerie overlooking the sea in Nice, France, he turned out images of nudes and exotically garbed models that have long been prized by discerning collectors of early 20th century art.
“Matisse: Masterworks From the Baltimore Museum of Art” will bring about 80 of the master’s works to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from Feb. 23 through May 18, 2014. The show is expected to have 32 paintings, 16 sculptures and more than 30 works on paper including drawings, original prints and books.
All of the work comes from the legendary collection of Dr. Claribel Cone and her sister Etta Cone of Baltimore, who, in the early decades of the 20th century, spent much of their inherited textile fortune gathering some 3,000 artworks including key pieces by Matisse (1869-1954), Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and others.
Their 500 Matisses, now in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art, are among the largest single collections of the artist’s work anywhere. In quantity and quality, their hoard rivals those of the eccentric writer Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo, and the pharmacist Alfred C. Barnes, who left his to a namesake museum in Philadelphia.
In Minneapolis, a complimentary exhibit will feature selections from 40 Matisses owned by the Minneapolis museum. Among them will be the famous 1907 “Boy With a Butterfly Net” which depicts Leo Stein’s nephew; “White Plumes,” a 1919 portrait of a favorite model; and “Les Pensees de Pascal,” a lovely 1924 still life.
The show replaces a previously announced exhibition of portraits on loan from the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Plans for that exhibition were scratched when the French institution withdrew key paintings that Minneapolis had counted on getting. The Matisse show offered a promising alternative with pictures whose provenance and quality set a high mark among American collections of early 20th century French art.
Ticket prices are expected to be $20 on weekends and $18 weekdays.