The Budapest Museum of Fine Arts is opening its first large-scale exhibition of the works of Henri Matisse on Thursday, showing over 150 works encompassing the artist’s 60-year career, organisers told a press conference on Wednesday. The show runs until Oct. 16.
The museum’s director, László Baán, said 2022 was the museum’s “strongest” year yet, with shows of Cezanne, Bosch, Matisse and El Greco filling the season. Curator Dávid Fehér said the exhibition entitled The Colour of Ideas — Masterpieces of the Paris Centre Pompidou, mounts works from all main periods of the artist’s corpus, from the early experiments to his late gouache paper cut-outs. Curator Aurélie Verdier of the Centre Pompidou noted that the centre is home to one of the most significant Matisse collections, and the Budapest exhibition aims to give a comprehensive view of the artist’s oeuvre.
Opening the landmark exhibition, President Katalin Novák said art and culture were needed “even in the darkest of times”.
Noting that Matisse created even during the horrors of two world wars, Novák said the artist had not put his brush down knowing that art and culture were needed in this dark period. The salutary lesson, she added, was that every effort must be made to prevent the current war from escalating further. “We Hungarians want to win peace, not war…” the president said.” Peace talks are akin to an open window that can lead us out of the darkness.” To survive the war, the wisdom of leaders is needed, as well as the works of artists “who can transmute our pain, anger, feelings of loneliness and experience into poetry, prose, music and images.” Novák said Russia was the aggressor in the war in Ukraine, and its leaders were responsible, yet writings of Pushkin, Tolstoy or Solzhenitsyn, the works of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev should not be discarded because of their decisions.
Image: Henri Matisse: Interior in Yellow and Blue, 1946