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«Henri Matisse, a palette of objects 25 June to 24 September 2016 Levels -1 et -2 Henri Matisse, Fauteuil rocaille, Vence, 1946, oil on canvas, 92 x ...»

Henri Matisse, a palette of objects

25 June to 24 September 2016

Levels -1 et -2

Henri Matisse, Fauteuil rocaille, Vence, 1946, oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm, coll. Matisse museum, Nice

Photo : François Fernandez

Musée Matisse

164, avenue des Arènes de Cimiez – Nice

Presentation of the exhibition Henri Matisse, a palette of objects

25 June – 24 september 2016

Hélène Adant, Palette d’objets, Villa Le Rêve, Vence, 1946, photography

Coll. Photo library of the documentation center, Matisse museum, Nice Photo : Centre Pompidou, Paris, Mnam/Cci, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Fund Hélène Adant The collection of objects of the Matisse museum in Nice: a singularity Matisse liked to be surrounded in everyday life by furniture and objects, which constantly renew his inspiration, and which may become the main subject of his paintings and drawings.

Some of them are faithfull companions. In his book Henri Matisse, roman 1, Louis Aragon noticed the importance of these objects in the painter’s creative process. He illustrated, with the title « Palette – of objects », a photography that the artist gave to him and where stand the objects he often depicted.

Although few publications exist on this set of furniture and objects, considering them more precisely, as a palette of shapes and colors, may offer a new vision on the genesis of his work.

The singularity of the Matisse museum stands in the painter’s wife and then his heirs’ donations of the most complete and most representative set of objects and furniture used by the artist in his compositions both graphic and pictorial.

Since the opening of the museum in 1963, this original collection was presented among the Matisse’s paintings, drawings and sculptures and was the subject of a particular presentation in 1984. It was still missing the occasion to put in light these objects through an exhibition, for the public and the different institutions that make researches on Matisse’s work.

For Matisse, the object, artistic or useful, is a pretext for researches on the line, the shape and the color, in his methodic process to the ever greater simplification to find the “sign” and the brightness in his works.

Furthermore, the artist gives them a personality and considers them as actors with a singular character and a particular story that he staged in different compositions.

Louis Aragon, Henri Matisse, roman, tomes I et II, Paris, Gallimard, 1971 ; rééd. coll. « Quarto », 1998.

This exhibition presents the set of objects and furniture belonging to the painter, conserved in the Matisse museum of Nice, as a reference basis for new researches and exhibitions, soon in Boston and London particularly.

It enables to improve the knowledge of the creative process of one of the great masters of the 20th century. It also renews the focus on the works of the museum and, through prestigious loans, it allows to discover works from museums around the world where the objects of the collection of Nice are represented.

Visitor route: levels -1 et -2 of the museum, temporary exhibitions space From work of art to everyday object Still life Objects and et ornaments Matisse, the object's role in orchestrating shape and color Photographs: the life of objects A « palette – of objects », Louis Aragon Depictions of objects Portraits of objects Beyond the object Meaning of the exhibition Henri Matisse, a palette of objects Items that belonged to Henri Matisse in Nice's Musée Matisse collections

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"The environment creates the object. I spent my entire life working in front of the same objects that gave me a sense of reality, turning my mind to all that these objects had been through for me and with me 2."

Among the items that were originally donated to Nice's Musée Matisse 3 is a unique collection of over 130 objects, including fabrics, carpets, and pieces of furniture of various origins that once belonged to the painter. Up until now, little had been said about this collection, yet it is of significant interest. Studying the items provides insight into how the artist worked, allowing us a better understanding of his ideas and concepts and pointing to the foundations of what inspired him. Alongside his works of art, the furniture and objects, included in the donations made by Mrs Matisse followed by his children, form "a cohesive and complementary whole via which to examine Matisse's approach and areas of research 4" in line with the painter's wishes. Over the years, this collection has been supplemented with new donations 5 that illustrate the breadth of the artist's interests and sources of inspiration.

This summer, the Musée Matisse is showcasing this collection in its entirety in a bid to pursue its vocation as the leading centre of knowledge on Matisse's work.

The exhibition is entitled 'A Palette of Objects', a reference to the photograph taken by Hélène Adant and commissioned by Louis Aragon, who approached Matisse in 1946, asking him to gather together the objects that featured most prominently in his life's work.

Henri Matisse, quoted in Henri Matisse. Écrits et propos sur l'art, notes and index by Dominique Fourcade, Éditions Hermann, collection Savoir, Paris, 1972, p. 247.

Inaugurated on 5 January 1963.

Deed of donation: "Henri Matisse, followed by Mrs Matisse and finally other members of the family after his death, made generous donations of works of art, items and souvenirs belonging to the painter, to the city directly, but in the hope that these items be kept together and showcased as a collection [...] one of the objectives being to form a cohesive and complementary whole via which to examine Matisse's approach and areas of research."

Musée Matisse archives, Nice In 2011, textiles were donated by Mrs. Jacquelyn Matisse; in 2012, furniture and textiles were directly donated by the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, New York; in 2015, two ceramic jugs were donated by Vincent and Irus Hansma; in 2016, a Moorish chair was donated by Michel Gaudet.

Visitor route Henri Matisse, une palette d’objets

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In 1963, the Musée Matisse was located on the first floor of the Villa des Arènes, formerly known as the Villa Garin de Cocconato.

Jean Matisse, son of the painter, an artist and sculptor in his own right, was tasked with structuring the display format for the collections alongside his sister Marguerite Duthuit and brother Pierre. He laid out the paintings, drawings and objects to create the requested "cohesive whole" that leads visitors through a step-by-step understanding of Matisse's art. He chose to combine styles, techniques and periods by displaying drawings and paintings sideby-side, with some even being mounted over doorways in accordance with the tastes of the time. In doing so, the objects and pieces of furniture found their place, thus contributing to the unique character of the museum's collection.

The collection of objects is on permanent display whether partially or in its entirety, with a view to maintaining a sense of cohesiveness with the works of art, based on the themed layouts of the various permanent or temporary exhibitions. The Venetian chair may therefore rub shoulders with the Rococo Chair painting (1946), the Rhine wine glasses, Woman Reading at a Yellow Table (1944), the Moorish furniture, or the Odalisque au Coffret Rouge painting (1927), with a view to maintaining the historical thread underpinning the collection displays.

This unprecedented and utterly original collection is a source of wonderment that is closely related to other museums around the world, home to works of art based on some of the objects on display here.

Notices of some masterpieces from the collection of the Matisse museum, Nice

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In this portrait dated 1944, during Matisse's Vence period, the model Annelies Nelck rests her arms on a table and gazes at a book. To the right of the painting, a bouquet of flowers in a vase embellished with a floral pattern, a Rhine wine glass and pomegranates complete the composition. Matisse chose to depict these familiar objects that appear in many of his graphic and pictorial pieces.

In this painting, after several paintings featuring the same subject, Matisse tackles the object not through colourful volumes and surfaces, but by using lines. The objects are outlined with a single, decisive line that stands out from the coloured backdrop, lending a sense of rhythm to the painting through their simplified form. With both depicted in this same style, the object becomes as important as the model.

In this period, Matisse drew on this same principle in many of his paintings, a combination of graphic style and coloured surfaces, in a bid to express his emotion as directly as possible, through line and colour. This painting, as with other works of art in the museum's collection, sheds light on what the painter was seeking to achieve.

–  –  –

"I've been looking for a new object for months. I don't know what... I'm looking for something to grab me. " "I have finally found the object I've been looking for for a year now. It's a Baroque Venetian chair in varnished silver. Enamel-like. [...] When I saw it in an antique dealer's a few weeks ago, I was shaken. It is spectacular, I'm obsessed with it. I shall slowly make my way back with it in the summer. " This Rococo chair became the primary protagonist in many paintings, including the one shown in this collection, which emerges as a veritable 'portrait of an object'. Its arabesque lines bring it to life. Its harmonious pose, slightly outside the frame, turns it into a truly exceptional model.

Photographed on a number of occasions as part of the décor, this chair was first depicted alongside a model in a series of paintings of a dancer in a blue tutu, painted in 1942. As a compositional element, its sinuous shape blends seamlessly with the ballerina's pose, creating mirrored curves that interact and complement one another.

–  –  –

Taken from Henri Matisse's donation to the City of Nice in 1953, the collection's key masterpiece is tied to the museum's history as well as that of Nice's cultural scene: in 1949, the painter used this painting to create the 'Nice, Travail & Joie' ['Nice, Work & Joy'] poster for the tourism office.

Dated 1947, this painting is an example of the principles of graphics and colours inherent to his 'Vence period'. The shapes here are simplified to the extreme, with volumes stripped of all shadow. The object and plant-based décor take up the vast majority of the composition, laid out in the classical style to strike a balance between vertical and horizontal surfaces and the symmetrical layout of the objects and fruit. For Matisse, "still life painting is as difficult as working with antiques, the proportions of its various sections as important as heads and hands". In addition to this traditional composition is the depiction of the palm tree reduced to its most basic, graphic form. Pushed any further, it would become unrecognisable. This is what Matisse termed a 'sign', a graphic innovation. His leaves serve as an organic filter separating the interior from the exterior, like a mashrabiya.

A synthesis of Matisse's art, this still life combines the traditional and the innovative in its many different components.

Loans obtained for the exhibition These works are presented with the objects and works from the collection of Matisse museum, Nice.

The complete list of works, photographs and objects that will be presented in turn in the exhibition is available on the website of the museum: www.musee-matisse-nice.org PAINTINGS Les coloquintes, 1916, oil on canvas, 65,1 x 80,9 cm The Museum of Modern Art, New York Fauteuil vénitien et fruits, 1942, oil on canvas, 59,5 x 44,5 cm The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, New York Le Petit déjeuner, 1920, oil on canvas, 64,1 x 73,8 cm Histoires juives(Still Life), 1924, oil on canvas, 81,6 x 100,3 cm Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphie, Pennsylvanie Intérieur aux barres de soleil, 1942, oil on canvas, 73 x 50 cm Matisse departmental museum, Le Cateau-Cambrésis Nature morte au magnolia, oct. 1941, oil on canvas, 74 x 101 cm National museum of modern art / Centre de création industriel, Centre Pompidou, Paris Tulipes et huîtres sur fond noir, 1943, oil on canvas, 61 x 73 cm National Picasso museum, Paris

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OBJECT Piece of Kuba fabric, Henri Matisse’s personnal objects, 6,8 x 57,5 cm Matisse departmental museum, Le Cateau-Cambrésis


Gaston Diehl, Matisse au Régina, Nice, January 1942, Frédéric Altmann’s collection Gaston Diehl, Matisse au Régina, Nice, January 1942, Frédéric Altmann’s collection Gaston Diehl, Matisse au Régina, Nice, January 1942, Frédéric Altmann’s collection Gaston Diehl, Matisse au Régina, Nice, January 1942, Frédéric Altmann’s collection Around the exhibition

- Catalogue of the exhibition Henri Matisse, palette d’objets Edition ARTLYS, Paris, 2016 28 €

- Slideshow in conjunction with the exhibition on the theme et the representation of the objects in Matisse’s work Continuous play from 10 am to 6 pm during the journées du patrimoine Auditorium, level – 2

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