Matisse Drawings, curated by Ellsworth Kelly from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation Collection, a unique exploration of Henri Matisse’s drawings by one of America’s greatest abstract artists, provides new insight into the French master’s work. For this special exhibition, Ellsworth Kelly surveyed Matisse’s drawings from 1900 through 1950, revealing Matisse’s process and the range of his creativity as a draughtsman. Many of the 45 works on view, from quick sketches to highly detailed images, have rarely or never-before been exhibited.
To accompany this display, Kelly selected work from his own large-scale Suite of Plant Lithographs (1964–66) for presentation in an adjacent gallery, illuminating both the sympathies and distinct differences between the two artists. The entire installation, including frame choice and placement of works, was conceived by Kelly, and this is among the last exhibitions on which he worked before his death (December 27, 2015). In his tribute to Kelly, Jerry Saltz described him as “the artist I now think of as the American Matisse.”