Matisse exhibition moves from MoMA to Pompidou Centre

Initial plans to tour the exhibition to Russia have now been shelved



The Pompidou Centre will be showing a selection of the Matisse works already seen at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 25 February to 21 June. Rather than just a smaller version of the New York show, it has been reshaped to provide a detailed overview of the years 1904 to 1917, and around 130 paintings, together with drawings and sculpture dating from these years will be displayed. The decision not to simply take over the entire MoMA show was made partly on the grounds that the Pompidou has already mounted a major Matisse retrospective (in 1971), and partly through a desire to study in depth a period of the artist’s life now viewed as fundamental for the development of twentieth-century painting. Organised by Dominique Fourcade and Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, the entire fifth floor of the Pompidou will be used for the show.

The first room will be hung with a group of Fauve works, centred around “Luxe, calme et volupté” (1904, Musée d’Orsay). Following this a group of monumental figures from 1908 to 1910 will include “Nu bleu (souvenir de Biskra)” (Baltimore Museum of Art), “Baigneuse à la tortue” (Saint-Louis Art Museum), “La Danse I” (Museum of Modern Art) and “La Danse II” (Hermitage). The 1911 room will show four “Intérieurs symphoniques”: “l’Atelier rouge” (Museum of Modern Art); “La famille du peintre” (Hermitage); “l’Atelier rose” (Pushkin Museum); and “Intérieur aux aubergines” (Musée du Grenoble), a new loan, not seen in New York. Works from the war years will include: “Une vue de Nôtre-Dame” (Museum of Modern Art); “Porte-fenêtre à Collioure” (Musée national d’art moderne); “La fenêtre” (Detroit Institute of Arts); and “La leçon de piano” (Museum of Modern Art). In addition, a number of works from the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen have been added for this showing. The show has been sponsored by the Elf Aquitaine Foundation.

Initial plans to tour the exhibition to Russia, and to show the entire span of the artist’s activities, have now been shelved. A Moma spokeswoman indicated that the decision had been reached by the Pushkin and Hermitage museums, the two principal lenders to the New York show, together with the Pompidou and MoMA itself. In the early stages of the planning of the New York show, it had been mooted that the pictures from the Russian, French and American institutions could be lent to each musem in turn. The Russians have declined the offer to take on such a major project at the present time.

In New York, projected final attendance figures are 900,000. In 1989 "Monet” at the Royal Academy, London, had 658,000 visitors.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Not the MoMA show but Matisse 1904-1917 only'