Henri Matisse. Bathers by a River. 1909–10, 1913, 1916–17. Oil on canvas, 102 1/2 × 154 3/16″ (260 × 392 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection. © 2010 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

In the time between Henri Matisse’s (1869–1954) return from Morocco in 1913 and his departure for Nice in 1917, the artist produced some of the most demanding, experimental, and enigmatic works of his career—paintings that are abstracted and rigorously purged of descriptive detail, geometric and sharply composed, and dominated by shades of black and gray. Works from this period have typically been treated as unrelated to one another, as an aberration within the artist’s development, or as a response to Cubism or World War I. Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917 moves beyond the surface of these paintings to examine their physical production and the essential context of Matisse’s studio practice. Through this shift of focus, the exhibition reveals deep connections among these works and demonstrates their critical role in the artist’s development at this time. Matisse himself acknowledged near the end of his life the significance of this period when he identified two works—Bathers by a River (1909–10, 1913, 1916–17) and The Moroccans (1915–16)—as among his most “pivotal.” The importance of this moment resides not only in the formal qualities of the paintings but also in the physical nature of the pictures, each bearing the history of its manufacture. The exhibition includes approximately 120 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints, primarily from the years of 1913–17, in the first sustained examination devoted to the work of this important period. The exhibition will be on view at The Art Institute of Chicago from March 20 through June 20, 2010.

If you plan to see the exhibition Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917 (July 18–October 11, 2010), please be aware that gallery occupancy is limited. Timed tickets are required and guarantee entrance to the exhibition at the time designated on the ticket, and carry no extra charge. This ticket also permits you access to all other Museum galleries, exhibitions, and films. A limited number of timed-entry tickets will be available each day at the Museum on a first-come, first-served basis. Or, become a MoMA member, and you and your guests can enjoy immediate entry to Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917 anytime, plus a full year of exhibitions, films, educational programs, and more. Corporate Membership does not guarantee timed entry to the exhibition. Check for details regarding Corporate Member access.

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Matisse: Radical Invention 1913–1917
368 pages
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The exhibition is organized by John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, and Stephanie D’Alessandro, Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago.

The exhibition is co-organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York and The Art Institute of Chicago.

The exhibition is made possible by AXA Equitable and Alliance Bernstein.

Major support is provided by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Additional funding is provided by Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley and by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.

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