Nearly 3 dozen cutouts by Matisse will visit art museum next year as his 'Blue Nude' heads for Paris

January 25, 1993|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

In the summer of 1994 a group of 32 to 35 late Matisse cutouts will come to the Baltimore Museum of Art for 2 1/2 months. The cutouts will come from the Pompidou Center in Paris in exchange for the loan of Matisse's famous 1907 painting "The Blue Nude" from the museum's Cone collection to a Matisse show at the Pompidou, BMA director Arnold L. Lehman said.

Since the museum's Matisse collection does not include examples of the late, colored paper cutouts for which the artist is extremely well known, the show will complement the BMA's major Matisse holdings. "The cutouts will open here at the end of May 1994, in an exhibit that will continue until mid-August," Mr. Lehman said.

The "Blue Nude" will go to Paris directly from New York, where it has been on loan since the fall to the Museum of Modern Art's Matisse retrospective that closed Tuesday, and where it is currently on view in a special weeklong show of 10 masterpieces by Matisse and Picasso. Members of the BMA's conservation department will inspect it at MOMA before crating it and allowing shipment to Paris. After its Paris stay, it will return to Baltimore later this spring, Mr. Lehman said.

This will be the third in a current series of exchanges of Cone collection material for material from other museum collections. In the fall of 1991 about 50 Cone collection works were sent to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in exchange for 32 paintings by Monet. Last fall, in exchange for 15 Matisses for its retrospective, MOMA sent the BMA 17 works of modern art from Cezanne to Jackson Pollock, a show that closed Jan. 17. Both shows were huge successes for the BMA, the Monet drawing 215,000 visitors in 15 weeks and the modern art show 73,000 in nine weeks.

Mr. Lehman also said that due to current construction of a new wing for 20th century art nearby, the Cone Wing has been temporarily closed and the collection is being moved to another location in the museum, the May-Hillman Galleries. As many Cone works as possible will be hung in those galleries for about three months, after which they will move back to the Cone Wing. The move is to avoid any damage from vibration from construction during the period when the new wing and the Cone wing are to be physically connected.

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