Henri Matisse. Dance (I). Paris, Boulevard des Invalides, early 1909. Oil on canvas, 8ʹ 6 1/2ʺ × 12ʹ 9 1/2ʺ (259.7 × 390.1 cm). Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. © 2016 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

ModernStarts: People explores aspects of figural representation in early modernism through several exhibition themes. Topics addressed in Composing with the Figure range from theatrical postures to the spatial relationship between the figure and its environment, and the reshaping or decomposition of the figure, with works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edvard Munch, Fernand Léger, and Marcel Duchamp. A thematic exhibition, Actors, Dancers, Bathers, traces the development of these genres from Paul Cézanne and André Derain to contemporary photography. The Language of the Body investigates gesture, portrait heads, and facial expressions in all mediums, including prints by Odilon Redon and Paul Klee. Posed to Unposed: Encounters with the Camera explores the development of figure compositions throughout the entire history of photography. Expression and the Series juxtaposes Auguste Rodin’s sculpted heads of Honoré de Balzac and Henri Matisse’s heads of his neighbor Jeanette Vaderin. Finally, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space is an installation of large figurative sculptures.

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