INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Museum of Art recently announced that it will host a major exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by the great French artist, Henri Matisse (1869-1954) from Oct. 11 to Jan. 12, 2014.
The exhibition is drawn almost entirely from The Baltimore Museum of Art's (BMA) Cone Collection, which is one of the most comprehensive collections of Matisse's art in the world. "Matisse, Life in Color: Masterworks" from The Baltimore Museum of Art is expected to draw large crowds from throughout the region like past exhibitions "Gifts to the Tsars" (2001) and "Roman Art from the Louvre" (2007).
"We are delighted to bring some of the most significant works from this renowned collection to Indianapolis and give our community this rare opportunity to see such an extraordinary array of work by this important artist. Henri Matisse's strong use of color and pattern was incredibly influential among avant-garde artists of the 20th century, and his work remains a touchstone for many artists working today. I have no doubt that his works will not only dazzle visitors with their sheer beauty, but also will inspire them to think about art in new ways," said Charles L. Venable, Ph.D., The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO.
"This exhibition will be an incredible asset to the IMA and offers our residents a chance to see firsthand the works of this renowned artist," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "Arts and culture are an important experience in people's lives and contribute to the vibrancy of a community. Opportunities such as this enhance quality of life in Indianapolis for our residents and attract visitors who significantly impact our local tourism industry and economy."
Formed by two sisters from Baltimore, Dr. Claribel Cone (1864-1929) and Miss Etta Cone (1870-1949), the Cone Collection forms the core of the BMA's modern art holdings and is regarded as one of the world's preeminent collections of modern art. "Matisse, Life in Color" is organized and circulated by The Baltimore Museum of Art and features nearly 80 works of art from its permanent collection, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and artist books.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the IMA will host a series of programs and activities to complement the visitors' gallery experience. One of the most compelling stories around this exhibition is how Etta and Claribel Cone, two sisters from Baltimore, built this singular collection. Among these events will be a lecture by a member of the BMA's curatorial staff, who will come to Indianapolis to share his knowledge of how the works in "Matisse, Life in Color" illuminate this relationship between artist and patron. Additional programming will include a series of musical performances in the galleries inspired by Matisse's jazz portfolio. Designed to engage families and children, art-making activities will occur on weekends in Star Studio. The centerpiece of these activities will be a special community-based program and exhibition, Inspired by Matisse, which will feature works of art by visitors and students from throughout Indianapolis.
IMA members can reserve their free tickets beginning March 11, and Oct. 11 and 12 are members-only preview days. Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Sept. 1. Tickets are $18 for adults, $10 for students with a student ID and youth ages 7 to 17, and free for children 6 and younger.
Group tour rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Groups can make reservations by calling 923-1331 ext. 218.
Educational tours are available for school groups, and teachers can make reservations by calling 923-1331 ext. 218. Customized activities and individualized curriculum packets, which link to the National Visual Arts Standards as well as Indiana's Common Core Standards, will be available for this exhibition.
Matisse was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, whose stylistic innovations fundamentally altered the course of modern art. In a career spanning six decades, his achievements in painting, sculpture, drawing, graphic arts, book illustration, and paper cutouts earned the acclaim of collectors, critics, and several generations of younger artists.
Matisse initially trained as a lawyer before developing an interest in art. He moved to Paris to study painting in 1891. He followed the traditional academic path first at the AcadŽmie Julian and then at the ƒcole des Beaux Arts, but he also discovered the dynamic and experimental contemporary Parisian art scene. He began to experiment with a diversity of styles to create his own pictorial language. In 1905, Matisse exhibited at the Salon d'Automne with AndrŽ Derain, and their shockingly bold experiments using color to structure their paintings brought them the derisive nickname "Les Fauves" (Wild Beasts).
Across a succession of styles, Matisse aimed to discover the "essential character of things" through art that expressed balance and serenity, as he explained in his Notes of a Painter (1908). He experimented throughout his career with abandoning conventional perspective and form in favor of dramatically simplified areas of pure color, flat shapes, and decorative patterns.