Sunday, January 24, 2016


    Matisse - just the name brings to mind paintings so rich with color so imaginative in execution that words fail.  Undoubtedly Henri Matisse is one of the leading figures in modern art.  Multi talented he was also a gifted sculptor and draughtsman yet remembered primarily for his paintings with visitors coming from near and far to stand in awe before his works.  One of the most important collections of his paintings in the world is found in the Barnes Foundation, and now for the first time we are privileged to have a magnificent three volume slip-cased publication covering this collection.

    This collection boasts 59 paintings from different stages of Matisse’s career including the incomparable Le Bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) and The Dance.   Matisse in the Barnes Foundation shares 656 illustrations with us, 606 in color.  As if these paintings were not enough we also learn how and why Dr. Albert C. Barnes collected Matisse’s works thanks to an essay by noted art historian Claudine Grammont.  She is a respected independent scholar who curated several exhibitions on Fauvism and its artists.

    Yve-Alain Bois, editor and art historian at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, has written a fascinating essay for us in which he writes in depth about Matisse’s life and works with a special emphasis on The Dance and its import in Matisse’s career.  Karen K. Butler, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum associate curator relates how Barnes viewed Matisse.

    Such a wealth of information to read, reread and share with friends!  Nothing is overlooked as the publication also includes analyses of the paintings in the Barnes Collection as well as stories behind these acquisitions.  As you may know The Dance was commissioned by Dr. Barnes for the Foundation’s main gallery, so in Volume 3 we find correspondence surrounding that work between Barnes and Matisse - letters, sketches and telegrams.

    Matisse in the Barnes Foundation is not only a landmark publishing event but a monumental work to be enjoyed by Matisse aficionados and referenced for generations to come.

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