Matisse exhibition in Madrid

A new exhibition of paintings by Matisse in the Thyssen Museum in Madrid opens tomorrow under the title ‘Esplendor en la sombra’ (Splendour in the Shade)

Matisse (1869 – 1954) is one of the twentieth century’s best known artists alongside Picasso which is why the Thyssen Foundation in Madrid ( has decided to open an exhibition dedicated to work produced by Matisse during his mature years. In contrast to his early paintings and those produced during the years before his death much of the paintings he produced during this ‘mature’ stage of his career are little known. The period in question is from 1917 to 1941.

As from tomorrow the public will be able to see the exhibition of his work produced during these years. The exhibition includes 74 works in total and includes paintings, sculptures and drawings gathered from 50 museums and private collections around the world.

Landscapes and nudes form the central themes of this dazzling exhibition. All the work during this period was produced in Nice, France, where Matisse lived following the end of the First World War.

Tomás Llorens, the Commissioner of the exhibition says that the period 1917 – 1941 was a luxurious period in Matisse’s career, not because he lived a bourgeois lifestyle but because it was during this stage of his life that he really mastered his art.

The first two exhibition rooms are dedicated to the first work he produced while living in Nice and provide an insight into the way Matisse played with the exterior and the interior. They reflect the light of the sun in the interiors and on the figures of women in the background of the pictures. There are also pictures of landscapes, gardens, and balconies seen from the interior.

During the 1920’s Matisse demonstrates his interest for backgrounds inspired by Islamic art. From this date onwards Matisse dedicated much of his work to female nudes portraying them in as many ways as possible. He also painted nudes inspired by classic Greek art. Most of the sculptures in the exhibition are from this period.
Matisse’s larger pictures produced when his wife and daughter were detained by the Gestapo and France was under Nazi control are shown at the end of the exhibition.