July 29, 2019

Baltimore Museum of Art to Launch Henri Matisse Research Center

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced today that it will establish a center dedicated to the study of artist Henri Matisse. Slated to open in 2021, the center will draw from the institution’s 1,200 works by the French master, many of which entered its collection through a 1949 bequest from sisters Claribel and Etta Cone, who amassed five hundred of his paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and illustrated books.

The center will be named for Ruth R. Marder, the philanthropist and longtime museum trustee whose Ruth Carol Fund donated $5 million in support of the project, and will serve as a major resource for scholars, providing new opportunities for research and symposia and for the digitization and publication of portions of the collection. The gift will help fund the design and construction of the space, which will be located on the first floor of the museum, and will establish an endowment for the center.

“With the opening of the Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies, we are creating new opportunities to engage our audiences with our collection and to spark new interests and conversations on Matisse’s influence on modern and contemporary art practice,” said BMA director Christopher Bedford. “This opening also allows us to honor the legacies of several incredible women, who through their commitment helped shape the BMA into an institution dedicated equally to scholarship and civic engagement. This includes Claribel and Etta Cone as well as Ruth R. Marder, whose lifelong dedication to the BMA proved invaluable to the enhancement of our collections and programmatic capabilities.”

The center will be led by Jay McKean Fisher, the museum’s deputy director of curatorial affairs, whose organized several Matisse shows during his forty-four-year tenure at the BMA, including “Matisse: Painter as Sculptor” (2007) and “Matisse as Printmaker” (2009). An exhibition exploring the artist’s decades-long friendship with Etta Cone will inaugurate the space.

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