Matisse exhibit to 'Jazz' up museum

French artist Henri Matisse is primarily known for his brightly-colored, fluid works.
Beginning today through May 25, the IU Art Museum will feature his art in the Special Exhibitions Gallery.

Titled “Matisse’s Jazz and Other Works from Indiana University Collections,” it will include a selection of his color prints from “Jazz.”

The exhibit has already gained local attention because of the Matisse gallery featured at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in January.

“I am delighted to hear that there is a lot of hype and excitement about the show,” museum curator Nan Brewer said. “Henri Matisse, along with his friend and rival Pablo Picasso, is one of the most important artists and one of the leading figures of 20th-century modern art.”

The “Jazz” print book contains more than 100 prints based on paper cutouts that Matisse made in his 70s when he could no longer draw or paint.

Brewer said the focus of the book emphasizes the artist’s works on paper from the last 30 years of his life, when he had to overcome numerous obstacles to re-invent himself and create some of his most acclaimed work.

Matisse’s pieces in the collection were acquired by the museum through purchase and gifting. A large number of the prints came from Diether Thimme, a former professor in the art history department.

The museum recently collaborated with the Indianapolis Museum of Art, lending them 20 color stencil prints for their exhibit entitled “Matisse, Life in Color: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art.”

Since the prints returned to Bloomington, they will be the centerpiece of the exhibit.
The museum had previously framed the individual plates for their exhibition and took the opportunity to show all these prints together for the first time since they were acquired in 1965.

“Although the ‘Jazz’ plates are the centerpiece of the exhibition, we wanted to highlight other works by this important artist in IU collections,” Brewer said. “We’ve only displayed one plate at a time in the past, while we have included over 40 additional works from the collections of the Indiana University Art Museum, Lilly Library and Fine Arts Library.”

Matisse’s work is known to be influential to many painters and sculptors in the art field. Senior art student Seth Headdy said he is very excited for the unveiling of this

“There is a lot to appreciate and learn from his use of color choices and line quality in his pieces,” Headdy said. “His influence on my own art work is nominal, but it’s hard to deny that his work is some of the best art creations ever made.”

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