For Matisse 1869-1954, french Fauvist painter and sculptor, his models were more than muses; they were partners in his work and guides on the ever-shifting paths to artistic expression. He would often work with one model for an extensive period of time, beginning in 1916 with Italian model Laurette, sometimes spelled Lorette, who posed for nearly 50 paintings in the year after they met.
Matisse's longest continuous relationship was with Lydia Delectorskaya, a Russian woman who later become his secretary, studio manager and nurse to his sick wife. These and other of Matisse's influential models will appear in the Eykyn Maclean gallery exhibit of 50 works spanning from 1900 until the artist's death in 1954. Curated by Ann Dumas in collaboration with award-winning Matisse biographer and scholar Hilary Spurling, Matisse and the Model features works from nearly all of his media, including sculpture, drawing, print, painting and cut-outs from the artist's later years. Not for sale, the works are on loan from several prominent art institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as from private European and American collections.
- My models, my human figures, are never like extras in an interior. They are the main theme of my work. I depend absolutely on my model...
- The model for me is a touchstone, it is a door which I must break open in order to reach the garden in which I am alone and feel good, even the model exists only for what use I can make of it.
- The living model, the naked body of a woman, is the privileged seat of feeling, but also of questioning... The model must mark you, awaken in you an emotion which you seek in turn to express.