The paintings within Matisse’s ‘The Red Studio’

When Henri Matisse painted “The Red Studio” within the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux in 1911, he not solely let the viewer into his work area, with its field of crayons, ceramic plate and grandfather clock. He additionally captured tiny variations of his personal paintings propped towards the partitions, and his sculptures perched on stools.

Now, for the primary time since they left Matisse’s studio, these items of artwork might be displayed alongside “The Red Studio” on the Museum of Modern Art in an exhibition that opens subsequent May.

“You will see ‘The Red Studio’ and you will also see in real life the paintings and sculptures that he miniaturized and reproduced in the painting itself,” stated Ann Temkin, MoMA’s chief curator of portray and sculpture, co-organizer of the exhibition. “This is one of the great artists playing with the concept of art within art, presenting his own work within his own paintings. He painted a show of his work and we’re realizing it.”

Temkin collaborated on the exhibition with Dorthe Aagesen, chief curator and senior researcher on the SMK, the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen, which owns three of the paintings — “Le Luxe II” (1907-08), “Nude With a White Scarf” (1909) and “Nymph and Faun” (1911). After the present closes at MoMA on Sept. 11, 2022, it’ll journey to the SMK for 4 months, beginning that October.

Henri Matisse, “Le Luxe II,” 1907-08, depicted in “The Red Studio” might be proven at MoMA.Credit…The National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen. Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

“It’s a key to understanding what Matisse was aiming at in that important moment in his career,” Aagesen stated. “We’re reconstructing every move that led to the creation of that painting.”

This is the primary time these works might be proven as a gaggle — the final time they had been all collectively was in Matisse’s studio, when he painted them on this masterwork.

Of the 11 items created between 1898 and 1911 which can be represented within the image, two are privately owned and might be on public view for the primary time in additional than 50 years. One was destroyed many many years in the past (“Grand Nu à la Colle”). The different eight are in museum collections in Europe and North America.

Also featured might be Matisse paintings and drawings that relate to “The Red Studio” — particularly “The Studio, Quai Saint-Michel” (1917) and “Large Red Interior” (1948) — in addition to archival supplies equivalent to images, catalogs, letters and press clippings.

The exhibition exemplifies how a technology of students is shifting away from huge retrospectives towards digging into extra targeted matters that take note of a particular second in an artist’s profession.

“You don’t want to gather things that have been gathered together all over again,” Temkin stated. “You also want to introduce audiences to close looking, the idea that you can spend a lot of time thinking about one work of art and have a deeper experience.”

The portray was uncommon for its time — representing identifiable objects awash in a flat monochrome floor of Venetian crimson, combining the figurative with the summary and dismantling the phantasm of depth.

“He’s leaving his own artworks to be revealed, but everything else in the room is covered by this red,” Temkin stated. “It’s a very radical way of depicting a three-dimensional space he was standing in as a two-dimensional picture, taking a very traditional subject from centuries of art history — the artist’s studio — but creating an absolutely modern pictorial space.”

“Any depiction of a studio is by definition a meditation on what you do as an artist,” Temkin added, calling it “a revolutionary moment in the tradition of studio paintings because of the way it transforms that tradition.”

The crimson, because it occurs, was an afterthought; Matisse completed the portray earlier than deciding to cowl it in that coloration, an evolution revealed by analysis during the last 20 years. A piece of the exhibition will discover that conservation historical past.

“He had a whole painting made and then it was a late-stage decision that he would add this red,” Temkin stated. “The idea of the artist’s process is that when you start you may not know where you’re going. You may think you do, but the painting takes over — and on some level the artist is listening to the painting or following the painting’s instructions about what to do next. This is an exceptional case of a painting becoming a different painting in the process of making.”

Six toes tall by seven toes broad, the canvas was amongst a collection of works commissioned by Matisse’s early patron, Sergei Shchukin, a Russian textile businessman, for whom the artist made his “Dance” and “Music” paintings.

Yet Shchukin declined to accumulate it for causes unknown (he did buy the portray’s predecessor, “The Pink Studio”). “He may have told Matisse he liked his paintings with figures better, but at the same time he bought other paintings without figures, so I think he was just being tactful,” Temkin stated. “But if you think of what this painting must have looked like in 1911, you can imagine it was incomprehensible.”

“No one had made a monochrome picture before,” she added. “Here he jumped into a territory of abstraction and a plane of color in a way that was certainly unrecognizable.”

So Matisse saved the portray for greater than 15 years, throughout which it traveled to the Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition in London in 1912 and to New York, Chicago and Boston for the 1913 Armory Show.

“The Red Studio” was finally purchased in 1927 by David Tennant, the founding father of the Gargoyle Club in London, the place it hung within the mirrored ballroom till the early 1940s, after which it was bought by the Bignou Gallery in New York, after which acquired by MoMA in 1949. Finally, within the 1950s, folks took discover.

Matisse’s “Young Sailor II” (1906), one of many paintings proven in “The Red Studio.”Credit…The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

“This painting that for several decades had not been fully appreciated — suddenly art history caught up to it,” Temkin stated. “So you have somebody like an Ellsworth Kelly or a Mark Rothko or any number of artists in Europe and the U.S. seeing this painting as such a landmark.”

“It’s a really beautiful example of how art history is full of works that are ahead of their time and that find their place several decades after they were actually made,” she continued. “It’s the exact same thing that happened to Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’: They were made in the teens and ’20s and completely ignored and scoffed at as the work of an old Impressionist whose eyesight wasn’t very good anymore. And then when Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman started making color fields, there was interest in the ‘Water Lilies’ 30 or 40 years later.”

Although “The Red Studio” was made 110 years in the past — and the present has been within the works for 4 years — Temkin stated it has explicit resonance in right this moment’s world, when the pandemic has prompted reassessment and introspection.

“Here is an artist going outside his comfort zone,” the curator stated. “It’s Matisse attempting something even he did not completely understand. And that is such a model for art making in any field.”