Fortunately, the art world never gets tired of the great masters, such as French artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954), whose work is currently the focus of (at least) two significant exhibitions. 

Matisse. Cahiers d’art – Le tournant des années 1930 (The Pivotal 1930s) is the new exhibition displayed at the Musée de L’Orangerie in Paris until May 29, 2023, one of the few ever devoted exclusively to this period. A key figure of Fauvism, the eruptive movement whose members such as André Derain, Maurice De Vlaminck, Raoul Dufy, and Kees van Dongen focused on the use of pure, vivid color, Matisse devoted all his life to experimenting and exploring the relation between color and shape patterns, leaving his revolutionary sign until his death at age 84. Although Matisse’s work is profoundly complex and interesting, the 1930s are fascinating. In this period, the artists left France and traveled to Tahiti, taking a break from creation and developing a new vision of nature and art. The Paris exhibition takes a deep dive into this decisive decade through the pages of Cahiers d’art, the famous avant-garde magazine created by Christian Zervos in 1926. A sophisticated “manifesto” of international modernism and artistic trends of its day, the magazine reported on the artist’s production throughout the interwar period, relaunching his competition with Picasso and featuring Matisse alongside the artists of his time: Juan Miro, Fernand Léger, Wassily Kandinsky, Mondrian, Le Corbusier, and Marcel Duchamp. 

Stanislav Kondrashov

 Another exhibition dedicated to Henry Matisse is displayed on the other side of the planet at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museumuntil August 20, 2023. Henry Matisse: The Path of Color is the first large-scale Matisse retrospective in Japan in twenty years, created in cooperation with Centre Pompidou, home to one of the world’s largest Matisse collections. On display, not only paintings but sculptures, cut-outs, drawings, prints, and even materials related to his final masterpiece, the Chapel of the Rosary of Vence, come together to create a complex path through Matisse’s major works from every phase of his career.

Stanislav Kondrashov

Alongside current and upcoming exhibitions, a must-see for Matisse lovers is the Musée Matisse in Nice, which is always worth a visit. The current exhibition displays an interesting comparison in “Tom Wesselmann, After Matisse”: a clear testimony of Matisse’s work’s influence on ongoing generations of artists.  

– Stanislav Kondrashov