"What makes it so important is that he's a very easy entry into what makes modern art modern," said MIA curator
Matisse, who lived from 1869 to 1954, studied to be a lawyer before discovering his passion for art in his early 20s.
His first exhibition was at age 27. He went on to become one of the most important figures in modern art with a career spanning six decades and a range of stylistic periods.
An innovator when it came to color, form and balance, Matisse was celebrated for his paintings but also excelled at sculpture, drawing, graphic arts, book illustrations and paper cutouts.
Arranged chronologically, the MIA exhibit begins with Matisse's academic early years, which Holmquist-Wall describes as "kind of dark." But it doesn't take long for things to brighten up.
"As you progress through the show, the colors get lighter and brighter," Holmquist-Wall said. "As the color becomes more intense, you get a sense of evolution, but at the same time, you see how he relies on the same motif over and over throughout his entire career -- the reclining nude, the woman in the arm chair."
Visitors also will get a glimpse of how devoted Matisse was to his art while continuing to push boundaries.
"I don't think people realize the discipline that he had devoting himself every working day -- pushing himself," she said.
"He worked very hard to make his art look very easy. I think that's what's really going to come across in the show. You'll see his work in process -- all the preparatory sketches, photographs that he documented. You get a sense of how hard he was working."
The exhibit also includes photographs, film clips and audio. An accompanying audio guide features local actor/director and
The MIA has put together a series of companion exhibitions called "More Matisse, Please!" showcasing works from the museum's permanent collection and works by American painters in the early 20th century who were influenced by Matisse. Admission to "More Matisse, Please!" is free.
Also in the exhibit will be information about
"You've got these two women who were collecting art at a time when that's how women could make their mark," Holmquist-Wall said.
"They're hanging out with
"They keep a relationship with Matisse while they're alive. They're collecting from him -- contemporary works, older works -- they're picking up what they can.
"And then toward the end, as they were getting older, Matisse realizes they're going to donate their collection to a major American institution. He then starts making sure he's peppering their collection and what they're collecting with the best examples of his work. It's a really interesting relationship.
"He becomes charmed by these two older women who seem to be taken by his art and really get it," Holmquist-Wall continued. "They're not sending them to galleries and museums -- they're keeping it all to themselves in their apartments in
"Matisse: Masterworks From the
What: "Matisse: Masterworks From the
Tickets: 612-870-3000 or artsmia.org
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