On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its Musée Matisse, the City of Nice is presenting, for the first time, eight simultaneous exhibitions celebrating Henri Matisse and his work.
From the heights of Cimiez to the Promenade des Anglais and passing through Old Town, the eight exhibits are being presented simultaneously in eight local galleries and museums: the Musée Matisse, the Musée d’Archéologie, the Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image, the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, the Palais Lascaris, the Galerie des Ponchettes, the Villa Masséna and the Musée des Beaux-Arts.
Nice ranks #2 in France after Paris, for the numbers of visitors to its city museums; close to 700,000 people visited in 2012. The city wanted to highlight the diversity of these museums and, at the same time, celebrate on a suitably grand scale the character, work and legacy of this legendary painter who so loved the Côte d’Azur.
In September 1905, the art critic Félix Fénéon bought Matisse a train ticket so he could discover Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Menton. Matisse was from the North, born in Cateau-Cambrésis in 1869. Twelve years later, in December 1917, Matisse returned to Nice and settled into a small room in the Hôtel Beau-Rivage. He set up his workshop a few meters away, on the Quai des États-Unis, at 24, Rue Saint-François de Paule. He spent nearly 40 years in Nice and the surrounding area, until his death on November 3rd, 1954, and throughout this time he “honoured the Côte d’Azur with unwavering fidelity and passion’’ which included, of course, the creation of numerous masterpieces. He is buried in Cimiez Cemetery.
To create the show, called A Summer for Matisse, pieces have been loaned from a wide range of French and foreign museums including the Centre Pompidou, the Château de Versailles, the Musée d’Orsay, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Andy Warhol Museum. There have also been numerous loans from Musées de France, especially from those museums located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region, as well as from private collections.
More than 700 Matisse works are currently on display in themed shows ranging from The Music in the Work’ (Musee Matisse), On the Subject of Swimming Pools (Musee d’Archeologie) and Matisse: The Jazz Years (Palais Lascaris). Matisse on the Bill (Galerie des Ponchettes) delves into advertising poster art while Palm Trees, Palm Leaves and Palmettes (Musee Masena) explores these recurrent motifs.
All shows are ongoing until September 23, 2013.
A 10€ pass allows one adult entry to all eight museums for seven consecutive days. You can buy the pass at any participating museum.
For more details and a list of what’s where, click here. There’s additional info in English on the press release here. The official site is here but the pages are only in French.
For lots of other great Nice info, check out the Nice Cote d’Azur Tourism website here.
And for wonderful photos of the artist, click here.
Photos: (1) A pochoir print of Matisse’s “Polynesia.” (2) Purple Robe and Anemones, 1937. (3) Poster from a Matisse show in Nice, 1950. (4) Le Cirque, planche II. (5) Poster from a Paris show in 1956. (6) Self portrait in a striped T-shirt, 1906. Matisse, like Bonnard, loved cats. He lived at Villa le Rêve with Minouche and Coussi. (7) This 12 x 11-foot ceramic-tile Matisse mural called La Gerbe (The Sheaf) was commissioned in the early 1950s; read a story I wrote about it here.