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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Details

Founded: 1963
Category: Museums in France

Rating

3.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rebecca Hindrichs (18 months ago)
Great museum. Download their audio guide from the app store in advance so you can listen to it for free using the museum wifi. Don't forget headphones! Not all of the painting are clearly labelled with the audio symbol, so pay attention because we missed a few.
Mark Bau (18 months ago)
Completely underwhelmed by this museum, it’s as if all they have is unfinished work or his seconds,there were none of his best known works. Maybe their good stuff was out on loan. Wouldn’t waste my time on this place which was a pity as I love Matisse’s work.
Elena Webb (19 months ago)
I rarely give lower reviews to museums and I wasn’t expecting I would for this one. My expectations were higher and looking at the beautiful mansion that houses the Matisse museum I had a different idea what it would be like... Matisse is among my favourite painters but here he’s not represented the way you can feel his art and soul. It’s rather plain, bland... Missing inspiration quite a bit. On the positive side, hang on to your ticket, it’s valid for 24 hours and gives admission to other museums.
Chris De Christophe (20 months ago)
Wonderful museum dedicated to Matisse. We took a bus from central nice to this museum on the outskirts. Lovely building, and the beautiful art is very well curated and displayed. Very relaxed atmosphere (well it is southern France). Matisse work was distinctive, but possibly not for me.
The Aardvark Arrives (20 months ago)
This excellent smaller museum describes how Matisse developed through his life, from his first painting of some old brown books to his vibrant cut-outs. Don't go there expecting major works - they're all in national museums. But this lovely collection - uncluttered, beautifully displayed and with images from his life - is a joy to see. The black and white photos of Matisse's models are particularly interesting. There's a fab little shop - you will definitely buy something! Then go for a drink and a snack in the outdoor cafe in the adjoining park - just go out of the museum exit and turn right. You can get to the museum on the bus or walk up the back streets, gazing at the beautiful houses with abundant orange and lemon trees in their gardens - so jealous. It was all wonderful - loved it!
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