Studio Fauve-orite

Matisse Woman Veil
Henri Matisse, Woman with a Veil.

Perfect timing. Petit Garçon and I have been particularly stir-crazy since I started maternity leave.  We needed a small day trip to give us some air because when you start forgetting the date and daytime television becomes riveting, it’s time to get the heck out of the house. Luckily the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has been hosting Matisse in the Studio, an exhibit that showcases French artist Henri Matisse’s personal possessions as inspiration alongside some of his most famous bodies of work.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is one of the leading figures in the Fauvism art movement, which is one of my favorite periods of art history.  This group of artists were infatuated with unrestrained colors, which dubbed them the nickname, Fauves, which translates to “wild ones”.  Color was the major element.  They rejected the soft tones and palettes of their Impressionist predecessors.  I always think of the movement as the ‘middle child’ in art history.  This movement becomes an important stepping stone in visual history and modern art, as the Fauves took less interest in realism and accurate representation, and more interest in experimentation with color and expression.  Beforehand, art was primarily a body of representation, guidelines, and structure.

Matisse, and the rest of the Fauves, sought to push those visual boundaries.

Henri Matisse in his studio
Henri Matisse in his studio.

Matisse in the Studio at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) celebrates the actual objects that roused much of Matisse’s inspiration for color experimentation in some of his most notable, yet rare, masterpieces.  He had a particular fondness for wordly items of varying cultures.

Making this exhibit exceptionally impressive is its rare ability to allow the art spectator to delve into the mind and creative process of one of art history’s most marked geniuses.  The MFA affords its audience a stunning revelation between object versus color and Matisse’s abandonment of traditional representation.  The vase was not simply a vase- it was merely a structure that supported a spectrum of colors, highlights, and shadows.  Those elements- when surfaced- became the subject over the object itself. To see these pairings together is uniquely sublime.

Matisse Exhibit Collage

Petit Garçon slept through the entire exhibit- his first ever, actually.  Though that is not indicative of the exhibit itself.  The kid just loves to sleep.  On the contrary, the MFA composed a magical and unique perspective- one to which art lovers are so rarely treated.  Not only did it cure an ongoing need to put on some nice clothes and leave the house, but it drew attention to an important visual movement that truly doesn’t generate the attention it so deserves.

Hurry, hurry!  The exhibit ends soon on July 9th. Do not miss one of my Fauve-orite exhibitions!

À la prochaine.

Matisse in the Studio Website