Henri Matisse. The Red Studio. 1911. Oil on canvas, 71 1/4″ x 7′ 2 1/4″ (181 x 219.1 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The Museum of Modern Art announces Matisse: The Red Studio, an exhibition focusing on the genesis and history of Matisse’s The Red Studio (1911), a painting that has remained among MoMA’s most important works since it was acquired in 1949. The large canvas depicts the artist’s studio filled with his paintings and sculptures, furniture, and decorative objects. This exhibition will reunite the artworks shown in The Red Studio for the first time since they left Matisse’s studio. The presentation will also include never-before-seen archival material and related paintings and drawings. On view at MoMA from May 1 through September 11, 2022, Matisse: The Red Studio is organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, MoMA, and Dorthe Aagesen, Chief Curator and Senior Researcher, SMK. Following its presentation at MoMA, the exhibition will be shown at the SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen from October 13, 2022, through February 26, 2023.
“Now 110 years old, The Red Studio is both a landmark within the centuries-long tradition of studio paintings and a foundational work of modern art,” says Ann Temkin. “The picture remains a touchstone for any artist taking on the task of portraying their studio. Matisse’s radical decision to saturate the work’s surface with a layer of red has fascinated generations of scholars and artists. Yet much remains to be explored in terms of the painting’s origin and history.”
The core of the exhibition will feature The Red Studio alongside the surviving six paintings and four sculptures depicted in it. Created between 1898 and 1911, these objects range from familiar paintings, such as Young Sailor II (1906), to lesser-known works, such as Corsica, The Old Mill (1898), and objects whose locations have only recently been discovered. Three of these paintings—Le Luxe II (1907–08), Nude with a White Scarf (1909), Nymph and Faun (1911)—belong to SMK, while the artist’s 1907 ceramic plate, depicted in the foreground, comes from MoMA’s collection. The exhibition will also feature a number of paintings and drawings closely related to The Red Studio, such as The Studio, quai Saint Michel (1917) and Large Red Interior (1948), which will help narrate the painting’s complex path from Matisse’s studio to its subsequent international travels and eventual acquisition by MoMA. A rich selection of archival materials such as photographs, catalogues, letters, and press clippings—many never before published or exhibited—will disclose new information on the painting’s subject, evolution, and reception. A section of the exhibition devoted to conservation science will present recent discoveries about the process of the painting’s making.
Matisse’s The Red Studio depicts the artist’s work environment in the town of Issy-lesMoulineaux, on the outskirts of Paris. The Red Studio was painted as part of a sequence of works requested by Sergei Shchukin, Matisse’s most loyal and courageous early patron. Shchukin eagerly purchased the painting’s predecessor, The Pink Studio, but declined to acquire The Red Studio. The painting remained in Matisse’s possession for 16 years, during which time it traveled to the Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition in London in 1912 and to New York, Chicago, and Boston for the 1913 Armory Show. The Red Studio was finally purchased in 1927 by David Tennant, the founder of the Gargoyle Club in London, a members-only club that catered to artists and aristocrats alike. The painting hung in the Gargoyle Club until the early 1940s; soon after, it was purchased by Georges Keller, director of the Bignou Gallery in New York. Finally, in 1949, The Red Studio was acquired for MoMA’s collection. Since that time, it has remained one of the Museum’s most influential works and has been especially beloved by artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Matisse: The Red Studio will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue that traces the story of The Red Studio, written by Ann Temkin and Dorthe Aagesen with contributions by Madeleine Haddon and Charlotte Barat and co-published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark.
The exhibition is made possible by Natixis.
Leadership support for the exhibition is provided by the Eyal and Marilyn Ofer Family Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, and The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.
Major funding is provided by Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jack Shear through The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.
Generous support is provided by Robert B. Menschel and Emily Rauh Pulitzer.
MoMA Audio is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Generous funding for the publication is provided by the Jo Carole Lauder Publications Fund of The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.