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St. Louis Art Museum Presents Matisse and the Sea


Saint Louis Art Museum
One Fine Arts Drive
Saint Louis, MO, USA 63110-1380

February 17 - May 12, 2024


Matisse and the Sea is the first exhibition to examine the significance of the sea across Modernist artist Henri Matisse’s career, which included artwork in coastal locations on the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Pacific. Marine imagery was an important catalyst for Matisse’s artistic experimentation—most notably in the Saint Louis Art Museum’s own iconic painting Bathers with a Turtle.

The exhibition includes imagery ranging from Matisse’s early panoramic marine views in the South of France to his late paper cutouts, representing life beneath the waves, which were inspired by his visit to Tahiti in 1930. It offers an opportunity to explore the artist’s travels throughout his career as well as the global influences that informed his art, particularly African sculptures and masks.

Matisse and the Sea will include a wide range of works in many forms of media, including paintings, sculptures, paper cutouts, drawings, prints, ceramics, and textiles. It will be accompanied by a scholarly exhibition catalogue.

This SLAM-organized exhibition is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art. Funding for this exhibition is provided by the Edward L. Bakewell Jr. Endowment for Special Exhibitions. In-kind support is provided by Christie’s. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Produced with the support of the French American Museum Exchange (FRAME).

In partnership with

The Saint Louis Art Museum

Founded in 1879, The Saint Louis Art Museum collects, presents, interprets, and conserves works of art of the highest quality across time and cultures; educates, inspires discovery, and elevates the human spirit; preserves a legacy of artistic achievement for the people of St. Louis and the world; and engages, includes, and represents the full diversity of the St. Louis community supporting it.

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FRAME (FRench American Museum Exchange)

For 25 years, FRAME (FRench American Museum Exchange) has played the role of a cultural bridge between France, the United States, and, more recently, Canada. This non-profit organization (501(c)3) promotes dialogue as a principle of mutual understanding between these countries through the collaboration of around thirty major museums in France and North America. This unique international network fosters  the development of exhibitions, innovative educational programs, research missions, and the exchange of professional practices on both sides of the Atlantic.

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