For the Marina Abramović exhibition, a surcharge applies. See, also for exceptions.

Exhibition — Mar 27 until Aug 15, 2015

The Oasis of Matisse is the largest exhibition of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) in the Netherlands ever. Enter an exuberant world of color and discover masterpieces by Matisse alongside work by his contemporaries from the Stedelijk Museum’s permanent collection. The Oasis of Matisse is an unforgettable experience!

Matisse sought the most perfect possible union between shape and color. He depicted Eastern nudes, colorful fabrics, carpets, potted plants, and idyllic landscapes. The exhibition reveals that, until his death, Matisse sought to evoke a bright, joyous simplicity with the minimum of means: the oasis of Matisse.

Unique exhibition concept

The Stedelijk has conceived a unique exhibition concept for this survey: the permanent collection on the museum’s ground floor will be enriched with a selection of Henri Matisse’s (1868-1954) classic pieces, creating surprising combinations with the work of his contemporaries, teachers, and followers.

Visitors are transported through the presentation of the permanent collection, enriched by more Matisse works than ever shown together in any Dutch museum. The exhibitions shows paintings, sculptures, and work on paper by the French master and from the Stedelijk collection.
In this way, both the work of one of the most important artists of the twentieth century as well as other artists can be seen in a new light, and visitors will be able to encounter Matisse’s art at every stage of his artistic development.

visitor's favorite: the Parakeet and the Mermaid

At the heart of this exhibition is one of the most popular works in the Stedelijk’s collection: the monumental paper cut-out The Parakeet and the Mermaid (1952-1953). This iconic artwork is presented alongside other cut-outs by Matisse and rarely-exhibited works in fabric and stained glass inspired by them.

“Comparing and contrasting Matisse’s work with pieces in the Stedelijk collection not only allows us to see the collection afresh, but also offers remarkable insights into one of the world’s most exhibited, researched, and written-about artists. When experienced in conversation with icons from our collection, lesser-known facets of Matisse’s work are revealed. For instance, the Expressionists drew heavily on the Fauves—seen beside Kirchner, you realize the rawness Matisse’s work has. And seeing how, in 1914, Matisse and Mondrian were both pushing towards abstraction, you witness two artists offering a very different, singular interpretation. Although Matisse’s work contained all the ingredients, he never embraced abstraction in its totality. For Matisse, the connection with reality was simply too compelling.”

— Bart Rutten, head of collections at the Stedelijk

Get to know matisse

Henri Matisse is one of the most influential and best-loved artists of the twentieth century. His paintings, sculptures and cut-outs are world famous. But what inspired Matisse to pick up a pair of scissors? Discover all about Matisse and his oeuvre on this voyage into the oasis.

Get to know Henri Matisse 


The Stedelijk is publishing a richly illustrated catalogue on the occasion of the exhibition. The publication contains a foreword by Stedelijk director Beatrix Ruf, an introduction by Bart Rutten and Geurt Imanse, and essays by Maurice Rummens and Patrice Deparpe, director of the Musée Matisse Le Cateau-Cambrésis. (approx. 200 pp, 150 illustrations, full color, € 25, price to be confirmed).


A model for Matisse: The story of the Vence Chapel is shown daily at 12.00 (changed time) and 16.00 in gallery 1.34. The film lasts 67 minutes. This film tells the story of a beautiful friendship between Matisse and a Sister of the Dominican chapel. She asked Matisse to design the chapel in Vence. Matisse worked on it for 4 years, designing almost everything, from the stained glass windows to the chasubles.

In the meantime excerpts from ruches are shown. These ruches have been preserved by La Cinémathèque Française in 1995 and digitalized in 2014. These excerpts last 8 minutes. 

Education Program

The education program designed around the Matisse exhibition offers adults, youth, schools and colleges, and families a diverse range of exciting activities. Adults can explore the work of the artist in depth with the Stedelijk Academie. The museum’s peer educators, the Blikopeners, will give guided tours. Families can create cut-outs like Matisse’s in the Stedelijk’s Family Lab, now dubbed Henri’s Garden. The free family trail, Bonjour Henri, takes families on an exciting voyage of discovery through the work of Matisse.


Bart Rutten, head of collections, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Geurt Imanse, curator visual art
Suzanna Héman, assistant curator works on paper
Maurice Rummens, academic staff member
Ceciel Stoutjesdijk, curator in training
Exhibition design by Marcel Schmalgemeijer


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The exhibition The oasis of Matisse  is made possible with the support  of the Turing Foundation, BankGiro Loterij, Fonds 21, Mondrian Fund, and the additional support of AON Corporate Solutions, Stichting Zabawas and  K.F. Hein Fonds.

The Stedelijk Museum would like to express its sincere thanks to principal sponsor Rabobank Amsterdam for making this exhibition possible. 

The Stedelijk Museum is grateful for the support from the benefactors of the Stedelijk Museum Fonds.