Art Institute Debuts "Matisse" this Weekend

From the Art Institute of Chicago:

Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917
examines the period of Matisse's production from his return to Paris
from Morocco in 1913 to his departure for Nice in 1917. Though this
period spans only five years, it represents a major turning point in
Matisse's career, the years when he developed his most demanding,
experimental, and enigmatic works: paintings that are abstracted and
rigorously purged of descriptive detail, geometric and sharply
composed, and dominated by the colors black and gray. Previously
considered to be responses to Cubism or World War I, or simply
unrelated aberrations of the artist's development, works from this
period are here reassessed and presented as one of the most significant
chapters of Matisse's evolution as an artist.


A highlight of the exhibition is the Art Institute's monumental painting, Bathers by a River.
This painting has been the subject of extensive art-historical,
archival, and scientific research that unlocks Matisse's working
methods. A painting that Matisse worked on repeatedly over a period of
many years, Bathers by a River
provides the key to the development of the artist's revolutionary style
of this time. The subject of study for four years, Art Institute
curators and conservators wedded new archival information and new
imaging technologies to uncover the history of this painting's
evolution and its surprising connections with other works, most
significantly The Museum of Modern Art's The Moroccans and The Piano Lesson
(1916). MoMA has likewise engaged in an investigation of works in its
collection, and, through this partnership, new information about
Matisse's experimental techniques.

Building on this research, Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917 showcases
a wide range of Matisse's paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints
primarily from 1913 to 1917. Visitors will be able to experience the
exhibition not only through such important paintings as Interior with Goldfish Bowl (1914) and Portrait of Yvonne Landsberg (1914), but also through closer looks at the artist's sculptures known as Back I, II, III, IV,
and his innovative etchings, engravings, and monotypes--dramatic prints
that the artist made only during the 1913-17 period. Also included in
the exhibition is a special presentation of Matisse's little-known Civil Prisoners of Bohain-en-Vermandois series that demonstrates how the artist attempted to unite his art, life, and wartime concerns during these years.

Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917
explores the critical interplay of Matisse's works and presents his
great achievements as the product of this concentrated period of
rigorous experimentation. Supplemented by graphic didactic materials
and texts as well as audiovisual presentations of the conservation
research involved in the project, Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917 redefines our perception of this modern master and his art.

Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917
is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue published by the Art
Institute and distributed by Yale University Press. It will be
available early April 2010.

Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917
is curated by Stephanie D'Alessandro, Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator
of Modern Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and John Elderfield,
Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of
Modern Art, New York.


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