Two black-and-white drawings hang side-by-side on the wall of the “Matisse/Diebenkorn” exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Both depict a woman draped in a flowered robe who is reclined in a chair and, and the striking similarities between the two reveal the deep, silent connection between French modern artist Henri Matisse and American artist Richard Diebenkorn.
The two drawings and their incredible semblance were the inspiration for one of the BMA’s most popular and widely sought-after exhibits in the museum’s 103-year history. It has received such high attendance rates and positive local and national acclaim that the BMA is offering extended hours for visitors to see the exhibit before it closes on Jan. 29. Beginning Thursday, visitors can experience the exhibit for additional hours on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m., as well as Saturdays and Sundays from 10-11 a.m.
“As the only East Coast venue for ‘Matisse/Diebenkorn,’ we wanted to provide more opportunities for visitors to experience this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition,” says Sarah Pedroni, communications coordinator at the BMA.
“Matisse/Diebenkorn” is the first major exhibit to demonstrate the profound influence that Matisse’s artistry had on Diebenkorn’s use of color, technique, and structure throughout his career. Katy Rothkopf, the exhibit’s curator and head of the department of European painting and sculpture at the BMA, recognized the relationship between the two bodies of work and felt inspired to display them together. It took 15 years to collect the exhibit’s 92 works from private collections and national and international institutions, including 36 paintings and drawings by Matisse and 56 by Diebenkorn.
More than 20,000 people have visited “Matisse/Diebenkorn” since the exhibition’s opening in late October, making it the most popular ticketed exhibit since the “Matisse: Painter as Sculptor” exhibit in 2007. Baltimore residents have a strong appreciation for the works of Matisse thanks to the BMA, which houses the largest collection in the world, but pairing his works with Diebenkorn’s canvases has breathed new life into the museum.
Recognition from the likes of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, France Today magazine, NPR, and CBS Sunday Morning has inspired art lovers from all corners of the world to flock to this exclusive exhibit. The museum has also had a significant increase in new BMA memberships as local and regional visitors discover one of Baltimore’s most celebrated art institutions.
“We are thrilled with the success of “Matisse/Diebenkorn,” says museum director Christopher Bedford. “It demonstrates that our greatest asset—the museum’s superb collection—is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for revelatory, historic exhibitions like this one, with the capacity to shine a national and international spotlight on Baltimore.”
On Jan. 12, Rothkopf will hold a curatorial talk at the BMA to discuss the conception and development of Matisse/Diebenkorn. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets.