The Red Studio

May 1–Sep 10, 2022


Henri Matisse. The Red Studio. Issy-les-Moulineaux, fall 1911. Oil on canvas, 71 1/4" × 7' 2 1/4" (181 × 219.1 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. © 2021 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • MoMA, Floor 3, 3 East The Robert B. Menschel Galleries

For many years after its creation, Henri Matisse’s The Red Studio (1911)—which depicts the artist’s work space in the Parisian suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux—was met with bafflement or indifference. Today it is known as a foundational work of modern art and a landmark in the centuries-long tradition of studio painting. Matisse: The Red Studio will reunite this work with the surviving six paintings, three sculptures, and one ceramic by Matisse depicted on its six-foot-tall-by-seven-foot-wide canvas. This will be the first reunion of these objects since they were together in Matisse’s studio at the time The Red Studio was made. They range from groundbreaking paintings, such as Le Luxe II (1907–08), to lesser-known works, such as Corsica, The Old Mill (1898), to objects which have only recently been rediscovered.

Paintings and drawings closely related to The Red Studio will help to illuminate the picture’s history: its rejection by the patron who commissioned it, its international travels, and its eventual acquisition by MoMA. A rich selection of archival materials, including photographs and letters, will reveal new information about the painting’s subject and history. The exhibition will also explore the radical nature of its almost entirely red surface and present recent discoveries about the process of its making.

A creative space within the exhibition invites visitors of all ages to draw, write, and reflect on the spaces and colors that inspire them.

Following its presentation at MoMA, the exhibition will be shown at SMK, the National Gallery of Denmark, in Copenhagen from October 13, 2022, through February 26, 2023.

Organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, and Dorthe Aagesen, Chief Curator and Senior Researcher, SMK – National Gallery of Denmark; with the assistance of Charlotte Barat, Madeleine Haddon, and Dana Liljegren; and with the collaboration of Georges Matisse and Anne Théry, Archives Henri Matisse, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.

  • This exhibition is part of Midtown is modern this summer.
    • Watch a video about why Matisse’s painting was so ahead of its time—and learn how the public finally caught up.
    • Watch the latest episode of our Conservation Stories series, in which new, surprising discoveries emerge about how Matisse made his iconic painting.