LivingTravelMuseo Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis

Museo Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis

Most people know about the Matisse Museum in Nice, where the artist lived for so long, but few people know about the Matisse Museum at Le Cateau-Cambrésis. Close to Paris, it is a great place to visit.

Matisse Museum

Housed in the former Archbishop’s Palace Fénelon in the small town of Le Cateau-Cambrésis, where Henri Matisse was born, this particular Matisse Museum is one of France’s relatively unknown but formidable art collections. It is unique because Henri Matisse chose what he wanted to give the museum and stipulated how he wanted the works to be organized.

Subsequent donations and acquisitions have completed the initial picture of how Matisse developed and changed as an artist. The works of Auguste Herbin, born in 1882 in a village near Le Cateau, and the magazines and books published by the poet-editor, Tériade, add two more collections.

Visit the museum
The museum is divided into three permanent collections, organized so that you can easily move from one collection to the next. The Matisse collection takes you through the artist’s artistic life, beginning with the first paintings he produced in his hometown of Bohain in Picardy. The city was built around the textile industry and grew up with rich decorative textured designs and arabesque shapes that influenced his work so much.
The museum is compact enough to give you a proper appreciation for how Matisse came to make those vibrant, colorful, and expansive images into inspiring paintings, drawings, sculpture, and paper cutouts.

Highlights include Tahiti II; Vigne Nu rose, interieur rouge; and the original plaster casts from his Four Backs series.

The collection
Tériade Tériade was an editor-poet-editor of enormous importance who founded the surrealist magazine Minotaure and later Verve . He published 26 editions between 1937 and 1960, commissioning the most exceptional writers (Jean-Paul Sartre, Gide, Valéry, and Malraux) and artists from Matisse, Chagall, and Picasso to Bonnard and Braque to work on the editions.
Between 1943 and 1975 he produced 27 books with artists such as Chagall, Matisse, Le Corbusier, Picasso, and Giacometti. It was an extraordinary series, with equally important text and illustration.

Works of art in their own right were delivered to the museum in 2000 by Teriade’s widow, Alice.

The Herbin Collection
Auguste Herbin was born in 1882 near Le Cateau and grew up in the city. He trained at the Lille art school and kept working for a left-wing newspaper. He lived in Paris, discovering the works of Van Gogh and Cézanne, then he was influenced by the Fauvists and Cubism.
After World War I, Matisse began producing what he called his “monumental objects”: relief works in wood or cubist-style furniture. There is an amazing piano from 1925 and polychrome reliefs.

But most surprising of all is a huge stained glass window, a copy of one made for an elementary school, made of very large surfaces of a single color.

Museo Matisse
Fenelon Palace
59360 Le Cateau-Cambrésis
Phone: 00 33 (0) 3 27 84 64 50
Web sitio

Open every day except Tuesday 10 am-6pm
closed January 1, November 1, December 25

Admission: adults 5 euros, 7 euros for Matisse galleries Entrance
free for children under 18 and every first Sunday of the month.

Audio guides are free with the price of admission and cover different aspects, from a visit to Matisse to a visit to Herbin’s works, all in English. There is a good shop and a small cafe where you can have your drinks and sandwiches outside to eat on the lawn.
For children: there is the audio guide The Story of Matisse for children .
Workshops: There are visual arts workshops, family workshops and workshops for children.

How to get to Le Cateau-Cambrésis
By highway
From Paris, take the Paris-Cambrai motorway (A1 then A2 – 170 kilometers), then take the RN43 from Cambrai to Le Cateau-Cambrésis (22 kilometers).
From Lille or Brussels , take the motorways towards Valenciennes Exit at the Le Cateau-Cambrésis exit, then take the D955 (30 kilometers from Valenciennes, a total of 90 kilometers from Lille).
By train
Le Cateau-Cambrésis is on the main line from Paris to Brussels and is accessible by train.

See the guide to get to Lille from London and Paris

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