Photos: Matisse’s Colorful Life Comes to the IMA

The artist did not shy away from the use of vibrant colors, a hallmark of his work that is celebrated in the exhibit running through Jan. 12, 2014.

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If you thought the fall season couldn’t get any more colorful, the IMA would like to challenge that. On Oct. 13, the Indianapolis Museum of Art will open the exhibition Matisse: A Life in Color, which explores the artist’s fascination with bright and bold uses of colors.

This exhibition, which draws generously from the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Cone Collection, is one of the most comprehensive collections of Henri Matisse’s work to date. Visitors will find on display a number of Matisse’s paintings, prints, sculptures, and illustrated artist books.

“[This is] a really enlightening exhibition for someone who isn’t familiar with his work,” says IMA curator Rebecca Long, who worked on it. “The show doesn’t tell the story of his career … it explores how he was working in his creative process.”

This process is shown through a number of his works accompanied by drawing studies Matisse conducted in his studio to produce the final product, allowing viewers to peer inside the artist’s head. Fan favorites are also represented, such as Large Reclining Nude; The Yellow Dress; Seated Odalisque, Left Knee Bent, Ornamental Background and Checkerboard; and The Serpentine.

Always a fighter, even after ill health and old age, Matisse continued to be productive. The exhibit features an illustrated artist book, Jazz, that Matisse finished in his later years by assembled paper collages of cut outs, of which prints were then made. (The artist died in 1954, at age 84.) The show presents both the book, from the Baltimore collection, as well as an edition from the Indiana University Museum of Art.

“This is a collection that [visitors] will not see here at any given point in time,” says Long. “So if they aren’t traveling to Baltimore or the MoMA [Museum of Modern Art in New York City], it’s a great opportunity for people in the area to see his work.”

Matisse: Life in Color will be open to the general public from Oct. 13 through Jan. 12, 2014. Admission: $18 for adults, $10 for youth (ages 7-17) and students (with student ID), and free for children under 6. imamuseum.org

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