|Reclining Nude I (Aurora) by Henri Matisse, Courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art
When you see an exhibit at a major museum, you assume that it’s the brainchild of the museum’s director or curator. Suggestions can also come from other sources. But perhaps the most intriguing results arise from a collaboration. “Matisse: Painter as Sculptor,” which opens January 21 and runs through April 29, is one such collaboration, thanks to a partnership between the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. It’s the first time the Nasher and the DMA have joined forces for a show.
“It was originally their idea,” says Steven A. Nash, director and curator of the Nasher, speaking about the DMA. “But we strongly identify with Matisse.” And well they should. The Nasher has one of the largest collections of Matisse sculptures in the United States. The DMA’s holdings of Matisse are equally impressive.
“It just was a natural partnership,” says Dr. Heather McDonald, one of three co-authors of the exhibit’s catalog and the assistant curator of painting and sculpture at the DMA. And, she advises, you need to see both halves of the exhibit. The 130-plus works, which head to San Francisco and Baltimore after their Dallas debut, bring to light both Matisse’s sculpture and his role as sculptor.
“People are very interested in Matisse’s paintings,” Nash says. “[They are] full of colors and fantastic patterning and spatial play and beguiling objects. The sculptures have not been as well studied and appreciated. But once you understand them [in context], they are equally as sensuous and exciting.”