Appreciate the Remarkable Collection in the Musée Matisse

Musée Matisse

The Musée Matisse is a handsome villa on the French Riviera which contains a remarkable collection – a visual history of Matisse’s works that spans his entire life and should appeal to everyone.

Henri Matisse came to live in Nice in 1917 and, shortly before his death in 1954, he bequeathed his entire personal collection to the city. Together with a second, even bigger, donation from his wife in 1960, it formed the basis of a priceless collection that celebrates the life, work and influence of the great artist.

This worthy collection is housed in the Musée Matisse, a striking mid-17th century villa with a cleverly painted trompe-l’oeil façade, colonnaded staircases and Italianate terraces, all set in the midst of a large olive grove on a hill in the Cimiez district of Nice.

The museum allows visitors an overview of Matisse’s entire working life, starting with copies of Old Master paintings that he made during his apprenticeship, through an era of sober, dark toned paintings of the 1890s (including his first personal painting, Nature Morte aux Livres, and Intérieur a l’Harmonium), his impressionist and fauvist phases (Jeune Femme à l’Ombrelle and Portrait of Madame Matisse), to the bright colours and simple shapes of his maturity, best portrayed in his decorative post-war paper cut-outs, silk screen hangings, and works such as Nu Bleu IV and Nature Morte aux Grenades.

The museum also boasts all the bronze sculptures that Matisse ever made, and the world’s largest collection of his drawings and engravings, including his illustrations of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, and his powerful sketches and stained-glass models for the remarkable Chapelle du Rosaire at Venice. There are also three temporary exhibitions held every year.

Richard Reeves is the founder of Essential Sailing and if you have been inspired to relax on a luxury sailing holiday, why not make this idyllic world your reality.


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