National Gallery of Denmark
14 July – 28 October 2012
This year’s main exhibition at the National Gallery of Denmark brings together a range of absolute masterpieces by Matisse from museums and private collections from all across the world. The exhibition, which is realised as a result of co-operation between the National Gallery of Denmark, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, adds a new chapter to our shared understanding of the French master painter.
Matisse meets Matisse
However, Matisse’s own approach to visual language was not quite as effortless and unproblematic as the final images may suggest. The exhibition “Matisse – Doubles and Variations” presents a picture of an artist who retained an exploring – and frequently doubting – approach to his art throughout his life, constantly testing and challenging his own mode of expression. Or, as he himself put it: ”My concern is to push further and deeper into true painting.”
Presenting 53 paintings, 15 drawings, and 22 photographs – many of them major masterpieces – the exhibition provides an overview of Matisse’s life’s work from the very beginnings of his career to the end. However, this exhibitions differs from standard retrospectives about this French artist by virtue of its insistent focus on the artistic process itself; here, Matisse’s method of exploration comes under close scrutiny. Special attention is directed towards how the artist would repeat the same motif in series and pairs while systematically varying the colours and modes of expression. The exhibition juxtaposes a wide range of these interrelated works, several of which have rarely been shown together since they left the artist’s studio.
Photo documentation and technical studies
During some periods of his career Matisse had his works photographed at crucial stages of the creative process. The photographs offered a way at capturing a range of possible solutions for each painting, documenting the often dramatic changes that would take place from one day to the next. The exhibition presents a range of these photographs, which testify to how the process itself was often as important to the artist as the final outcome. The exhibition also presents the results of technical studies conduced on a number of central works over the course of the years of research that preceded the exhibition. Together, these studies and photographs offer visitors a chance to gain deep insights into Matisse’s working process.
Book to accompany the exhibition
In conjunction with the exhibition, the National Gallery of Denmark and The Metropolitan Museum of Art publishes the comprehensive catalogue Matisse – In Search of True Painting.
The catalogue is edited by the two curators Rebecca Rabinow (Metropolitan) and Dorthe Aagesen (National Gallery of Denmark) and features 28 articles by the world’s leading Matisse scholars.
256 pages, lavishly illustrated.
Price: DKK 298. Available from the Gallery bookshop.
Paris – Copenhagen – New York
The exhibition was shown at the Centre Pompidou from 7 March to 18 June 2012. After the completion of the exhibition run at the National Gallery of Denmark the exhibition will travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it will be on display from 3 December 2012 to 17 March 2013.