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Henri Matisse and Modern Art on the French Riviera

December 13, 2008–October 25, 2009

The winding stretch of Mediterranean coastline extending from Marseilles to Menton—known as the French Riviera—has inspired numerous artists since becoming a tourist resort in the 1860s. Henri Matisse (1869–1954) moved there in 1917, attracted by the area's scenic beauty and radiant light. Matisse settled in Nice, the center of artistic and intellectual life in the south of France, until the end of his life. What is referred to as his "Nice period" consists primarily of the works he completed in the 1920s, when he painted richly decorated hotel interiors, suffused with light and inhabited by languorous odalisques. The dazzling optical effects of the sun-drenched coastline encouraged other artists—such as Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947), Raoul Dufy (1877–1953), and Chaim Soutine (1894–1943)—to move there in search of light and color. Including 42 paintings and sculptures from the Museum's collection and local private collections, this installation celebrates the French Riviera's mythic allure for modern artists.

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