Color, form, surface, figure and space Henri Matisse, the master of painterly innovation, combined these elements in an entirely new way around 1905. His figurative and symbolic reductions bordered on abstraction. The French painter, printmaker and sculptor Matisse (1869 1954) had a lasting influence on twentieth-century art. Hardly any young artist looking to build on impressionisms foundations could fail to engage with his oeuvre. In developing and intensifying his means of artistic expression, Matisse continued to work within the European tradition while simultaneously opening himself up to the possibilities offered by oriental and far Eastern art.
With an exhibition of around 125 selected paintings, sculptures, pottery and graphic works, the Kunsthalle Mannheim
presents Matisse as a pioneer of modernity and an example to his circle of younger contemporaries, whether the French fauvists, the German expressionists or students of the Académie Matissea true artists artist. In addition to landscape paintings, among which number famous Mediterranean scenes, the exhibition includes still lifes, studio pictures, and portraits, as well as a series of figures in space and backs. The pinnacle and finale of the exhibition are Matisses four famed life-sized Backs, which were created between 1909 and 1930 in a continual reduction of the artists sculptural expression.
In addition to Matisse, André Derain, Georges Braque, Charles Camoin, Kees van Dongen, Raoul Dufy, Henri Manguin and Albert Marquet are also represented in the exhibition, as well as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Alexej von Jawlensky, August Macke, Gabriele Münter and Max Pechstein. Works by the German pupils of Matisse Rudolf Levy, Oskar and Margarete Moll, Hans Purrmann and Mathilde Vollmoeller are also included. The works by these different artists combine to create an exciting dialogue and reveal new perspectives. It becomes evident that Matisse led the way to new form and content, simultaneously acting as a catalyst for individual artistic liberation.
The exhibition includes works on loan from museums and private collections in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and the US. Lenders are: Nationalgalerie (Berlin), Pinakothek (Munich), Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich), Staatsgalerie (Stuttgart), Musée Matisse (Nice), Tate (London), Nasjonalgalleriet (Oslo), Fondation Beyeler (Riehen/Basel), Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid), Art Institute (Chicago) und Metropolitan Museum (New York).