Musée Matisse

Nice, France

The Musée Matisse in Nice is a national museum devoted to the work of French painter Henri Matisse. It gathers one of the world's largest collections of his works, tracing his artistic beginnings and his evolution through his last works. The museum, which opened in 1963, is located in the Villa des Arènes.

The Villa des Arènes was constructed from 1670 to 1685. Upon its completion, it was named the Gubernatis palace after its sponsor and owner, Jean-Baptiste Gubernatis, then consul in Nice. The villa took its current name in 1950, when the City of Nice, anxious to preserve it, bought it from a real estate company.

The museum was created in 1963 and occupied the first floor of the villa, the ground floor being then occupied by a museum of archaeology. In 1989, the archaeological museum was moved to the nearby ancient site of the city, allowing the Musée Matisse to be expanded. It was closed for four years during renovations, and reopened in 1993. With a new modern wing as well as renovated spaces, the museum could exhibit its entire permanent collection, which has continued to increase since 1963 through several successive acquisitions and donations.

The museum's permanent collection is made up of a variety of donations, primarily those of Matisse himself, who lived and worked in Nice from 1917 to 1954, and those of his heirs, as well as works contributed by the State.



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Founded: 1963
Category: Museums in France


3.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Isabel Rennie (7 months ago)
Disappointing, the temporary exhibition was text on some walls and a few small images. The permanent exhibitions were more exciting but not the range of work I expected. I wouldn’t recommend paying or travelling to the museum.
Alexandra Valkova (8 months ago)
I visited the museum with the intention to learn more about Matisse. The red villa is the main part of the museum where his biography and most of his paintings, drawings, sculptures and some personal belongings are presented. The first part right at the entrance is dedicated to temporary exhibitions, like the Tom Wesselmann's one I saw. Overall, I enjoyed my visit and it took me 2 hours and half to see and read everything, but it could be done much quicker. I should come back another time though, since the current exhibition had taken pretty much half of the museum's space, I was left wanting to see more of Matisse himself. I'm glad I managed at least to see one of his famous Blue Nudes. The museum's shop was also very nice. The villa is very pretty on the outside too and the gardens around are great for a walk or picnic.
Leonardo Zhang (8 months ago)
The Matisse Museum is somewhat average, but it's worth a visit for art enthusiasts. I highly recommend purchasing a combination ticket. The park where it is located is also nice, and there is a parking lot nearby for visitors to use.
Laurie Gronewold (11 months ago)
I really loved the Matisse museum. It’s in a great area and the content was pieced together in a way that allowed me to ponder who Matisse was as a man. I wished there was more, but maybe I’m glad there wasn’t as I’ll know go out and look for more info on my own. Great deal to buy the Nice museum pass.
Ainhoa Gibaja Lascurain (2 years ago)
Apparently, it was Hockney-Matisse. The artworks were 35% Matisse's and 65% Hockney's. It's not worth the 10€ the adults have to pay. So if you are looking for Matisse, you won't find him there. Also, it's far away from civilization, so you better take the bus or the train.
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