on October 30, 2011
I could never argue that I have been a lifelong fan of Henri Matisse. However, thanks to a dog-eared print of one of his most famous works that room-mate of mine had in college, I have always had something of a soft spot for his work. Therefore, I figured a trip to the Musee Matisse in the northeast of Nice would be a great idea. Sadly, my girlfriend and I found ourselves rather disappointed.Our disappointment should not in any way be interpreted as a slight on the work of Henri Matisse (not that my opinion holds that much sway in the art world anyway). It should be seen more as a criticism of the rather threadbare nature of the collection on show. I headed there hoping to see some of his more famous works. Sadly, the majority of these are not housed in Nice. Instead, they are dotted around the globe, with many in New York or the Hermitage in St Petersburg. I was most keen to see his Blue Nudes, but these are housed in the Pompidou Center in Paris.Rather than his major works, the Matisse Museum is filled more with skecthes, notes and pieces of preparation. In facte, there is a whole floor dedicated to simple pencil outlines that became other works. In themselves, these are interesting enough. However, in the context of the whole museum they simply serve to highlight what it cannot provide.The top floor of the museum houses full works – the majority of them less than significant in the context of Matisse's career. There are three or four works in oil that catch the eye as well as the art work for a chapel that Matidde designed to be built in the Cote d'Azur. The final piece of interest is the reconstruction of a mural Matisse created that includes figures similar to his Blue Nude. And, whilst it might not be the real thing, it is certainly interesting.The saving grace of the Musee Matisse is that it is free to enter. It also boasts a fantastic gift shop which features hundreds of books, prints, post-cards and posters concerning the art that is not housed in the museum … there is some sort of irony there I believe.
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