This year marks 150 years since the birth of celebrated French impressionist artist Henri Matisse.
Widely thought of as one of the great artists of the 20th century. His mastery of colour as expression, displayed through a body of work spanning half a century, has won him extensive recognition and respect among art critics and more casual art enthusiasts alike. He is regarded, along with his contemporary and friend Pablo Picasso, as responsible for revolutionary developments in both visual art and sculpture in modern art. This year, marking the sesquicentennial of Matisse’s birth, provides an opportunity to reflect on his significant contributions.
Born in northern France in December 1869, as the son of a prosperous grain merchant, young Henri Matisse was initially set on a path to become a lawyer, studying law in Paris and working for a brief time as a court administrator. It wasn’t until after an attack of appendicitis at age 20 that Henri began to paint. While he was recovering from his illness, his mother brought him some art supplies to keep him busy as he regained his health. These early ventures into painting were “a kind of paradise”, Henri Matisse remarked later in life. Indeed, following this period, he decided to give up law and pursue art, a choice that disappointed his father. His early paintings were still lifes and landscapes in the traditional style, something at which he quickly became proficient.
However, everything changed in 1896 when Henri Matisse was introduced to impressionism through the work of Vincent Van Gogh. His style transformed completely, and he left behind his earth-toned palette in favour of bright colour.
Henri Matisse is often compared to Pablo Picasso, his friend and rival. The two met in 1906, a meeting arranged by American writer and art collector Gertrude Stein. Initially Matisse and Picasso disliked the other’s paintings; however, they sensed in each other’s work something that could not be disregarded.
In summer 2019 the Sorrento Foundation will propose in the prestigious venue of Villa Fiorentino, a major exhibition dedicated to HENRI MATISSE, with particular focus upon the strict relationship of the Master’s art with the theatre and in general towards its scenographic side and creations of "effect".
First international celebration event of 150 years since the birth of the great XXth century Master, the exhibition presents over 100 works, paintings, drawings, graphic works, sculptures and furnishing accessories. The artpieces come from the Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso of Münster.
The project is coordinated by the lawyer Gaetano Milano Managing Director of the Sorrento Foundation and the Chairman Gianluigi Aponte. Prof. Markus Müller, director of the Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso of Münster, Germany, and Prof. Gabriele Accornero, cultural management expert and CEO of BRIDGECONSULTINGpro, are the curators.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue Fondazione Sorrento Editions.
15th june – 20th october 2019
Sources: Art and Collections - Fondazione Sorrento
Henri Matisse - Shutterstock