Get comfy, Denver. The DAM is inviting people to spend time looking closely at 14 French paintings this fall. The new exhibition Matisse and Friends: Selected Masterworks from the National Gallery of Art opens this weekend. Director Christoph Heinrich and master teacher Danielle St. Peter led media through the exhibition on October 9.
Matisse and Friends showcases works by painters during the early 1900s who believed impressionism had lost its edge and power. When they exhibited their work, critics scorned it and called them fauves, or "wild beasts." Today, these bold and bright paintings are some of the most well-known and cherished works of the 1900s. "I would kill to have any of them in our collection," Heinrich joked at the preview.
St. Peter shared that the exhibition was inspired by Henri Matisse's studio and was designed to give visitors a chance to really spend time with each painting. There are even comfortable sofas, chairs, rugs, and tables (thanks to Shaver-Ramsey and the Denver Center Theatre Company) that make it feel like being in someone's home. "It's almost like living with a Matisse," St. Peter said. A quote from Matisse greets visitors at the beginning of the exhibition and sets the stage for the experience:
"What I want is an art of purity and tranquility...so that all those who work with their brains...will look on it as something soothing, a kind of cerebral sedative as relaxing in its way as a comfortable armchair."
More pictures from the preview are in the slideshow below.