DMA, Nasher to Present "Matisse as Sculptor" Exhibition

Major Traveling Exhibition on Matisse to Premiere Concurrently at the Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center

First Exhibition in 20 Years to Examine Artist’s Achievements in Sculpture

The Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center have partnered to present the first major exhibition in more than two decades to explore Henri Matisse’s sculptural works. Matisse: Painter as Sculptor will examine the artist’s sculpture as a vital part of a multifaceted conversation among the different media in his work and will reach farther than any before to highlight Matisse’s achievements as a sculptor. Featuring more than 150 sculptures, paintings, and drawings, as well as photographs of the artist at work, the exhibition will present new insight into Matisse’s creative process and will contextualize his achievement through comparative works of other modern masters.

Organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and The Baltimore Museum of Art, Matisse: Painter as Sculptor will be on view concurrently at the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center from January 21 through April 29, 2007, with each institution displaying different sections of the exhibition. Following the Dallas presentation, the exhibition will travel to San Francisco and Baltimore.

“Matisse: Painter as Sculptor is representative of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center’s commitment to the study of early Modernism and marks the first time that we, as neighboring institutions, have partnered together on an exhibition,” said John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, and Steven A. Nash, Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center. “This unique collaboration sets a precedent for future institutional partnerships among the network of North Texas museums, further establishing the Dallas-Fort Worth area as a leading center for the study and appreciation of modern and contemporary art.”

Matisse: Painter as Sculptor is organized thematically around a core group of more than 40 of Matisse’s great sculptural masterworks, which will be complemented with a selection of related works on paper, paintings, and original photographs of the artist at work. These integrated groupings will help to illuminate the evolution of Matisse’s sculptural ideas and creative process, and reveal the dialogue between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional in his oeuvre. For instance, the bronze sculpture Reclining Nude I (Aurora), 1907, will be exhibited alongside the majestic painting Blue Nude: Memory of Biskra (1907), a canvas that Matisse was painting during a key and difficult moment in the modeling of the sculpture. The painted and sculpted representations of the reclining female nude evolved together and were inextricably linked. Other exhibition highlights include the bronze sculptures Madeleine I and Madeleine II (1901 and 1903), the five portrait busts of Jeannette (1910-1914), and the monumental series of four bronze reliefs known as The Backs (1909-1930), Matisse’s most sustained exploration of the reduction and abstraction of the human form.

“The exhibition presents a chronological trajectory of the great master’s work, with an emphasis on process and the relationship between media, and encourages viewers to reevaluate their understanding of Matisse and his art,” said Dorothy Kosinski, Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. Dr. Kosinski is also project director for the exhibition. “The exhibition will reveal Matisse’s complex working process and provide visitors with the opportunity to explore how a drawing developed with sculpture or how a sculpture influenced a painting.”

Select works by Alexander Archipenko, Constantin Brancusi, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and Auguste Rodin, among other modern masters, will contextualize Matisse’s work, his dialogue with the figurative tradition, and the radical nature of his sculpture in the history of modern art.

New Research on Matisse’s Sculptural Process
The exhibition will present groundbreaking technical research that sheds light on Matisse’s sculptural process, both in the studio and in the foundry, and on the slight variations in scale and form of his great works in series. Comparative studies of specific sculptures were made using a laser scanning process, which allows for minute comparisons of different casts of the same work of art (for instance, Matisse’s Madeleine I and Madeleine II). These scans have been transformed into animated, interactive computer models that will be featured in the exhibition, offering visitors a better sense of how Matisse worked from one sculpture to another in a series and how he approached the casting of his sculptures in bronze. The project reflects active research on sculpture conservation and the technical aspects of sculpture at the Nasher Sculpture Center and The Baltimore Museum of Art.

Exhibition Organization and Tour
Matisse: Painter as Sculptor is co-organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and The Baltimore Museum of Art. Following its Dallas presentation, the exhibition will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (June 9–September 16, 2007) and The Baltimore Museum of Art (October 28, 2007–February 3, 2008). The exhibition is curated by Dr. Dorothy Kosinski; Dr. Steven Nash, Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center; and Jay Fisher, Baltimore Museum of Art Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs; with the assistance of Dr. Heather MacDonald, The Lillian and James H. Clark Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Dallas Museum of Art; Jed Morse, Assistant Curator at the Nasher Sculpture Center; and Dr. Oliver Shell, Baltimore Museum of Art Assistant Curator of European Painting & Sculpture and a Kress Foundation Fellow.

Catalogue
A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, co-produced with Yale University Press, will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue will encompass major new scholarship through a series of essays that will offer new and exciting insights into Matisse’s sculptural work. Dr. Nash will discuss Matisse patronage and the reception of his sculpture in America. Dr. Kosinski will probe the art historical context of Matisse’s sculpture in dialogue with tradition and the avant-garde. Dr. Shell will examine the artist’s ideas about the viewing of his sculpture, as revealed by his deliberate placement of sculpture in exhibitions. Dr. Shell and Ann Boulton, Baltimore Museum of Art Objects Conservator, will summarize technical studies undertaken while they held a joint fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art. Mr. Fisher will explore the use of drawing in the evolution of Matisse’s sculptural ideas.

About the Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 23,000 works spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media, with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and, in all its vitality, serves as a cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, and dramatic and dance presentations. The Museum serves more than one-half million visitors a year and offers more than 3,500 education and public programs annually, designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

About the Nasher Sculpture Center
Open since October 2003, the Nasher Sculpture Center is dedicated to the display and study of modern and contemporary sculpture. The Center is located on a 2.4-acre site adjacent to the Dallas Museum of Art in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. Renzo Piano, a world-renowned architect and winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 1998, is the architect of the Center’s 55,000-square-foot building. Piano worked in collaboration with landscape architect Peter Walker on the design of the two-acre sculpture garden.

The Nasher Sculpture Center is a longtime dream of Raymond Nasher and his late wife, Patsy, who together formed one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculpture in the world. The Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection includes masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin and Serra, among others, and continues to grow and evolve.

The Nasher Sculpture Center presents rotating exhibitions of works from the Nasher Collection as well as special exhibitions drawn from other museums and private collections. In addition to indoor gallery space, the Center contains an auditorium, education and research facilities, a café, and a store.

About The Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914, the BMA’s outstanding collection encompasses 90,000 works of art, including the largest and most significant holding of works by Henri Matisse in the world, as well as masterpieces by Picasso, Cézanne and van Gogh. An expanding collection of contemporary art features iconic post-1960 works by Andy Warhol and Sol LeWitt, as well as exciting acquisitions by artists such as Kara Walker and Olafur Eliasson. The BMA is also recognized for an internationally acclaimed collection of prints, drawings and photographs from the 15th century to the present; grand European painting and sculpture from Old Masters to the 19th century; distinguished American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts and Maryland period rooms; one of the most important African collections in the country, and notable examples of Asian, ancient American and Oceanic art. The BMA’s sculpture gardens feature a 100-year survey of modern sculpture on nearly three landscaped acres.