Henri Matisse: Acanthes. Conservation Project 2009 – 2012 at Fondation Beyeler

Fondation Beyeler’s Acanthes Conservation Project 2009 – 2012 is an extensive investigation and conservation project that focuses on French artist Henri Matisse’s Acenthes. Acanthes was created by Henri Matisse in 1953. It’s a major work from the series of large-format “papiers découpés”. Since March 30, 2010, the museum visitors have the opportunity to observe the conservation process in a room specially equipped for this purpose.

The papiers découpés are very special “paintings” as they consist of numerous layers. They are at the same time drawings (the establishment of contours), paintings (the composition of colored paper shapes), and sculptures (the cutting of the paper). With the papier découpés Matisse developed an entirely new form of expression – at the end of his life!

The above video is an excerpt of a 40 Min. long interview with the conservators of the Acanthes Conservation Project 2009 – 2012, Chief Conservator Markus Gross and Conservator Stephan Lohrengel. In the complete video, the conservators talk about the concept and different stages of the project, the tools the conservator use, the specific challenges of preserving Matisse’s papiers découpés, the work “Acanthes”, the relationship with the work, how Matisse developed these works, the importance of catalogs for the research, etc. – and what they already found out. You will also see a veritable icon of modernism and one of the most prominent works in the Fondation Beyeler, “Nu bleu I” (1952), a work Ernst Beyeler acquired for his collection in 1960, together with “Acanthes”. The full-length video will be available soon as download and DVD.

Henri Matisse: Acanthes. Conservation Project 2009 – 2012 at Fondation Beyeler. Interview with Chief Conservator Markus Gross and Conservator Stephan Lohrengel. Riehen / Switzerland, March 28, 2011.

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Full-length video (41:26 Min.):