During his lifetime, Henri Matisse (1869–1954) was already hailed as both a revolutionary painter and the inventor of the cut-outs. Far less known, however, is that he also modelled in clay and plaster and was keen to be recognized for his work as a sculptor.

An unknown side of the French master


CHF 23.–/18.– (concessions and groups)
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The four bronze bas-reliefs that make up ‘Back (I–IV)’ are not only his most important creations in the medium but also a milestone in modern sculpture.

This exhibition focuses on the artistic method Matisse brought to bear in almost all his principal sculptures: starting out from a seemingly naturalistic approach, his figures progressed through increasing degrees of abstraction that culminated in radical stylization. At the same time he captured the key ‘states’ as sculptures in their own right, laying bare the workings of his creative process. As if by metamorphosis, his bronzes are transformed from a natural to an abstract form. There are parallels with this process in his paintings and drawings, and the exhibition explores the relationship between them for the first time.

Matisse’s various sources of inspiration – nude photographs, originals from African art and Antiquity – as well as photographs showing the artist at work on his sculptures complete a focused presentation that sheds light on a lesser-known side of the French master.

Curator: Sandra Gianfreda


Image above:

Edward Steichen, Henri Matisse travaillant à «La Serpentine», 1909, Musée d‘Orsay, Paris. Photo © Musée d‘Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt, © The Estate of Edward Steichen / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich; © Succession Henri Matisse / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich

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