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Henri Matisse. Marguerite Wearing a Hat. 1918. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection, 2002.456.15. ©2013 Succession H. Matisse / ARS, New York
Henri Matisse. Marguerite Wearing a Hat. 1918. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection, 2002.456.15. ©2013 Succession H. Matisse / ARS, New York

More than 40 examples show Matisse’s affection for his daughter and provide a rare glimpse into the artist’s personal life

BALTIMORE, MD (August 2, 2013)— The Baltimore Museum of Art presents a special exhibition of prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures that provide a fascinating glimpse of Henri Matisse’s relationship with his only daughter, Marguerite. On view September 18, 2013 – January 19, 2014, Matisse’s Marguerite: Model Daughter brings together more than 40 works from the BMA and other public and private collections to show Marguerite over the course of 45 years.  Matisse made more portraits of his daughter than of all the other members of his family combined. He often shows a strong personal absorption with the character of his daughter—and reveals something about himself in the process of creating his art.

The exhibition is organized by BMA Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs Jay Fisher and presented in the Cone Collection galleries. The exhibition is generously sponsored by the Lacovara family in honor of Philip A. Lacovara.

“Matisse approached these portraits of Marguerite with an intimacy that’s not necessarily seen in his other works,” said Jay Fisher, BMA Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs. “Most of his models were often shown preoccupied, looking off into a different direction away from the viewer. They aren’t as much the subject of the painting as they are in service to other artistic ideas. Matisse was much more direct and sensitive to Marguerite’s features and character.”

Born in 1894, Marguerite soon appears in sketches of a little girl of 6 or 7. By the time she was 12, she was a frequent participant in the life of his studio and would often take on important roles in major paintings.  Many portraits of her were breakthrough works like Marguerite (1916) that reveal an advance in Matisse’s artistic vision, but she also appeared in pictures of family life and with other models such as Two Women in a Landscape, Vallée du Loup (1922). Matisse brings much of himself and his own feelings to the portraits of his daughter. Sometimes she appears younger than she is, as if Matisse were reliving her childhood, and sometimes older, as if he were anticipating her aging.

Marguerite shielded her father from many of the distractions that could bring him away from his art. She was most often the contact to Matisse’s collectors, including the renowned Baltimore sisters Claribel and Etta Cone. Etta, in particular, formed a close relationship with Marguerite, which is shown in the exhibition through a selection of letters and photographs. Marguerite also nurtured Matisse’s legacy, providing scholars with insights about her father’s techniques and masterworks. Upon his death, she took on the critical task of documenting the complete record of the artist’s prints and sculptures, an endeavor that was continued by her son, Claude Duthuit, who was a BMA National Trustee before he passed away in 2011.

Matisse at The Baltimore Museum of Art

The BMA has the largest and most significant collection of works by Henri Matisse in the world with more than 1,000 works by the artist, including a comprehensive collection of prints and drawings, as well as 42 oil paintings, 22 sculptures, 21 books, two textiles, a ceramic vessel, and 34 copper plates from the artist’s first illustrated book, Poésies de Stéphane Mallarmé. This extraordinary collection began with a gift of 600 Matisse works from Baltimore sisters Claribel and Etta Cone, who had visited the Paris studios of Matisse and Pablo Picasso in the early 20th century and began forming one of the world’s greatest collections of modern art. Over the course of nearly 50 years, they assembled an exceptional collection of approximately 3,000 objects, which were displayed in their Baltimore apartments. Etta Cone met Matisse in 1906, and her initial purchase of several drawings marked the beginning of a life-long passion for his art that continued throughout his career. With masterworks such as Matisse’s Blue Nude (1907) and Large Reclining Nude (1935), competition among museums for The Cone Collection began as early as 1940, but Claribel insisted that it go to The Baltimore Museum of Art if “the spirit of appreciation for modern art in Baltimore became improved.” The collection came to the BMA upon Etta’s death in 1949, and has been on view since 1957. The collection has been the subject of exhibitions at prestigious museums around the world and celebrated in Baltimore with redesigned and expanded galleries that include a dynamic touch-screen virtual tour of the apartments where the Cone sisters lived with their remarkable collection. In recent years, the BMA has conducted ground-breaking research on Matisse’s sculpture and organized major traveling exhibitions with accompanying catalogues on Matisse’s sculpture and prints.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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