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Le Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie est ouvert tous les jours de 14h30 à 18h30 sauf le Mardi.
Visites guidées et démonstration à 15h et 16h15.

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Matisse's trip to Tahiti
Matisse's trip to Tahiti
25.09.2014 - 04.01.2014
Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie - Méru


This fall, the Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie honors Matisse

A major artist of the 20th century, and looks back on the influence of Tahiti on his work. Through a hundred works, organized in three sections, the exhibition makes us discover, the evolution of the artist's painting, but also the evolution of the very definition of exoticism and its representation. Matisse is committed to the simplification of forms and thus frees nature from the constraints of classical composition. It is moving towards a fluidization of space.
At the end of the 19th century, the island of French Polynesia represents an unprecedented paradise on earth, contrasting with the advent of European modernity. Driven, undoubtedly, by the memory of Gauguin and the discovery of the sculptures of the Trocadéro, Matisse left the French Riviera for Tahiti in 1930. He returned from this trip with new lights and new forms that he would never cease to develop until the end of his life.
An example of the large installations of the Industrial Revolution, the Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie reconstructs part of the workshops of yesteryear, with authentic machines. This unique, timeless place bears witness to ancient know-how in the production of various objects, which it wishes to preserve and pass on.

An invitation to travel

Following the purchase of Gauguin's painting L’homme à la fleur de Tiaré, Matisse engages in an epistolary debate that highlights the similarities and dissimilarities of the two artists. Unlike Gauguin, Matisse gave up painting when he was in Tahiti. He prefers to soak up the lights and observe, he adopts an ethnographic approach. He is more interested in empty space and landscape than in the full physical space that captivated Gauguin. Matisse retains the relation of the figure to the ground from the Tahitian landscape, until it dissolves into it and disappears.

Loosening the line

This experience gives new impetus to the artist's production. It is no longer just a lived exotic experience, but a purification of the Tahitian experience through memory and drawing. Matisse engages his work towards a stripping down, a progressive simplification of shapes and lines and in the use of colors and their relationship to form. The simplification of the line, the expression of rhythm, the dissolution of the line are in his drawings the harbinger of the gouache papers that he will use until the end of his life.
"I have reached a settled form to the essentials"
Fifteen years after his return, the memory of Tahiti engenders a new creative phase in Matisse. From 1943, he worked with cut-outs that he pinned to the wall in order to experiment with the balance of shapes and colors and prepare a Jazz album. The lagoons perfectly illustrate the way in which the painter expresses Polynesian memory by the undulation of the edges of shape, the absence of shape / ground differentiation and the extreme simplification of the shapes.

The Polynesian tapestry, the sea, exceptional loan from the city of Beauvais, constitutes a moving step towards this sublimation of shape, which the artist touches thanks to the trip to Tahiti. There he seeks even more light and purity to develop the liveliness of the line. He experiments with forms with incredible happiness and virtuosity.

Polynesia the seaWool tapestry
Henri Matisse, Polynesia the sea, 1948,
Collection of the city of Beauvais
@H. Matisse Succession
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