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Artworks by Henri Matisse hang on a wall.Phil Weston

Matisse as Printmaker

June 28 – October 19, 2014

Matisse as Printmaker: Works from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation is a traveling exhibition drawn entirely from the extraordinary collection of prints that once belonged to the artist’s son Pierre. The exhibition highlights the full range of Matisse’s printmaking techniques and subjects through more than 60 artworks, including etchings, monotypes, aquatints, lithographs, and linocuts.

The collection brings Matisse’s prints out of the shadow of his more celebrated paintings and sculptures in order to highlight their particular brilliance as important works of art that eloquently illuminate the artist’s mastery of line and his devotion to drawing processes throughout his career. The Washington Times has praised the exhibition, stating Matisse as Printmaker “refreshes the typical view of Matisse.”

About the Exhibition

One of the most famous artists of the twentieth century, Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was a painter, sculptor, draftsman, and printmaker. He was deeply engaged in all of these creative pursuits and worked on them simultaneously, understanding that each medium offered unique artistic possibilities and challenges.

Many of the prints in this exhibition represent variations on favorite themes, such as reclining or seated nudes, which provides insight into Matisse’s creative development as he turned to the practice of drawing to initially study his subjects in the studio and then used printmaking to further revise and refine his images.

For example, one depiction of a female figure may be drawn with an elegant, spare line accentuating contour and shape, while another is modeled with light and shade to emphasize the volume of the human form. In the exhibition catalogue, Guest Curator Jay Fisher of the Baltimore Museum of Art suggests, “Printmaking was Matisse’s primary means of demonstrating to his audience his working process, the character of his vision, and the way his drawing transformed what he observed.”

After a successful tour in 2011 to major museums in Baltimore, Tampa, and Austin, this critically acclaimed exhibition concludes its tour at the Paine Art Center and Gardens, the exhibition’s only Midwest destination.


Matisse as Printmaker is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. The presentation of the exhibition at the Paine Art Center and Gardens is generously supported by the Luther Family Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.