San Antonio Museum or Art

Press Releases

Matisse: Life in Color Masterworks from The Baltimore Museum of Art Arrives in San Antonio this June. Only Museum in region to host exhibition.

The San Antonio Museum of Art will present Matisse: Life in Color, Masterworks from The Baltimore Museum of Art to San Antonio, June 14 through September 7, 2014. This sweeping exhibition features almost fifty paintings and sculptures and thirty works on paper spanning six decades of Henri Matisse’s prolific career. Drawn from The Baltimore Museum of Art’s permanent collection, perhaps the finest collection of Matisse’s work in the world, Matisse: Life in Color offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for San Antonio, and indeed, all of Texas and our region, to share in the beauty and importance of such a magnificent body of work.

“The exhibition will enrich our community and increase the national and international stature of the San Antonio Museum of Art as well as the city of San Antonio as an important cultural destination,” said Katherine C. Luber, the The Kelso Director of the San Antonio Museum of Art.

As one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954) fundamentally altered the course of modern art with his stylistic innovations. Across a succession of stylistic periods, Matisse aimed to discover the “essential character of things” through art that expressed balance and serenity. 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.

The majority of the artwork in Matisse: Life in Color, Masterworks from The Baltimore Museum of Art comes from the renowned Cone Collection, formed by Baltimore sisters Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone. Noted for their enduring dedication to modernism, the sisters assembled one of the largest private collections of the work of Matisse in the world.

The museum will host a second, smaller exhibition The Art Books of Matisse opening June 21, 2014 that features works from the artist’s book Jazz, on loan from the Bank of America. The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio will also have a small exhibition Matisse and Picasso: A Friendly Rivalry featuring works from their collection.

Among the exhibition highlights are:

Large Reclining Nude, 1935  

This is one of Matisse’s most compelling paintings of the 1930s and an important work in the transition to his late painting style and to his paper cutouts. He worked on the painting for several months and documented the stages of its evolution through 22 photographs Etta Cone. Matisse progressively flattened the image, striving for a balance between the sinuous arabesques of the figure and the regular grid pattern of the background.

Henri Matisse
French, 1869-1954
Large Reclining Nude, 1935
Oil on canvas; h. 26 1/8 in. (66.4 cm), w. 36 3/4 in. (93.3 cm)
The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.258
Photography by Mitro Hood ©2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York




The Yellow Dress, 1929-1931

In 1929, Matisse was in the midst of a painting block. His production fell off sharply, and he left a number of paintings unfinished. He began The Yellow Dress in September 1929, but he struggled for another two years to bring it to a satisfying conclusion as he sought to achieve a balance between modeled form and outline. Matisse simplified and enlarged the figure and the dress as the painting progressed, transforming the domestic subject into something monumental and timeless.

Henri Matisse
French, 1869-1954
The Yellow Dress, 1929-1931
Oil on canvas; h. 39 9/16 in. (100.5 cm), w. 32 1/8 in. (81.6 cm)
The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.256
Photography by Mitro Hood
©2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



















Seated Odalisque, Left Knee Bent, Ornamental Background and Checkerboard, 1928
After seeing an exhibition of Islamic art in Munich in 1910, Matisse became intrigued by the decorative aesthetics of Near Eastern and North African cultures. Following two trips to Morocco in 1912–13, images of women in North African costume begin to appear in his work. The strong patterning of the carpets and textiles dominates this painting.

Henri Matisse
French, 1869-1954
Seated Odalisque, Left Knee Bent, Ornamental Background and Checkerboard, 1928
Oil on canvas; h. 21 5/8 in. (54.9 cm), w. 14 7/8 in. (37.8 cm)
The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta
Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.255
Photography by Mitro Hood
©2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York























The Serpentine, Original model 1909; this cast c. 1930 

The Serpentine is one of Matisse’s most radical and open sculptures, composed as much with empty spaces as with sculptural masses. The pared-down figure is an ensemble of lyrical curves twisting through space, freeing the forms from literal anatomical references to create a striking metaphorical image in which the woman is rendered like a plant growing out of the ground.

Henri Matisse
French, 1869-1954
The Serpentine, original model 1909; this cast c. 1930
Bronze; h. 21 ½ in. (54.6 cm), w. 11 ½ in. (29.2 cm), d. 7 ½ in. (19.1 cm) The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of a Group of Friends, BMA 1950.93 Photography by Mitro Hood
©2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York






























This exhibition is organized and circulated by The Baltimore Museum of Art.

###

The San Antonio Museum of Art is housed in the historic Lone Star Brewery on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk. The collection contains more than 25,000 works representing 5,000 years of history and cultures from around the world.