Matisse and the Decorative Impulse

  • Apr 14, 2012 – Jul 8, 2012
  • Gallery 6
Louise August, "Europa and the Bull", not dated, woodcut on paper, 12 ¼
x 16 7/8 in. Gift of the artist, 1964

Did you know?

To those French critics who found the unnatural color of his Fauve artwork “indecent, atrocious, or reptilian,” Matisse responded that “both harmonies and dissonances of color can produce agreeable effects.”  He also stated, “It took a lot of gall—guts—to paint it but much more to buy it.”

Attracted to bold patterning throughout his career, Henri Matisse explored in both prints and paintings the decorative possibilities of simplified forms and areas of flat surface design mixed with volumetric representation. Matisse’s proliferation of patterning served to unify his compositions—and also inspired a succeeding generation of artists. Following the French master’s precedent, the artists featured in this exhibition likewise examine the possibilities of robust design and the restorative contemplation of beauty.  

The exhibition is organized by Elaine D. Gustafson, Curator of Collections.

Related program:

Noon @ the 'Spoon • Tue May 8 @ 12pm

We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.