The Städel Museum is currently preparing a major special exhibition: From 13 September, the Frankfurt museum will be presenting two outstanding artists – Henri Matisse (1869–1954) and Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947) – in an exhibition that is the first in Germany to bring these key modern masters together. At the heart of the comprehensive presentation is the friendship between the two French artists which lasted for over forty years. Both painters shared a preference for the same range of subjects: interiors, still lifes, landscapes and the female nude. With a selection of more than a hundred paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, the exhibition opens a dialogue between Matisse and Bonnard and offers new perspectives on the development of the European avant-garde from the beginning of the twentieth century to the end of the Second World War.

After the successful conclusion of the extensive loan negotiations, the Städel is looking forward to presenting outstanding works from internationally renowned collections, among them the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The selection of works is complemented by a substantial group of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson who visited the artists on the French Riviera in 1944. A particular highlight of the exhibition are the two paintings the artists owned by one another, which will be shown together for the first time. Another highlight is Matisse’s Large Reclining Nude of 1935 – a key work which has not been on display in Germany for more than thirty years and which will be on loan from the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The exhibition is sponsored by the global banking group Societe Generale and supported by the Städelscher Museums-Verein as well as the Georg und Franziska Speyer’sche Hochschulstiftung.

“French art has a long tradition at the Städel Museum. Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard – both of whom are represented in our collection – had long and successful careers and enjoyed recognition far beyond the borders of their native France. Our autumn exhibition is the first to allow the German public to experience the two artist friends in a fascinating dialogue and to discover Bonnard, who is less well-known in Germany, through a sizable number of his most important works,” the Städel’s director, Philipp Demandt, explains.

The title of the exhibition, “Long Live Painting!” is based on the programmatic exclamation with which Matisse saluted his friend Bonnard on 13 August 1925. Those three words on a postcard from Amsterdam were the beginning of a correspondence that went on for more than twenty years and that testifies to the depth of the respect and appreciation the two artists felt for each other. In the first decade of the twentieth century, both painters left Paris, then the capital of the avant-garde, for the Côte d’Azur, where they continued to cement their reputation as leading lights of the European art scene. Despite the near-contiguity of their lives and careers, art historians tend to correlate them with two opposing trends: Bonnard’s breezy, loose brushwork and scintillating soft pastels give rise to the construct of the painter as the last great heir of Impressionism, while Matisse’s preference for strong colours and flat, heavily contoured compositions earn him the accolade of being named a pioneer of twentieth-century abstraction. The juxtaposition of the two friends and colleagues questions this long-established view of their respective oeuvres and sheds new light on their distinct contributions to the development of modern painting.


Curator: Dr. Felix Krämer (Sammlungsleiter Kunst der Moderne, Städel Museum)
Co-curator: Dr. Daniel Zamani (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter Kunst der Moderne, Städel Museum)
Exhibition duration: 13. September 2017 bis 14. Januar 2018

Information:,, Telefon +49(0)69-605098-200, Fax +49(0)69-605098-112
Visitor services: Telefon +49(0)69-605098-232,
Location: Städel Museum, Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main
Opening hours: Di, Mi, Sa, So + Feiertage 10–18 Uhr, Do + Fr 10–21 Uhr, montags geschlossen
Special opening hours: Di., 3.10., 10 – 18 Uhr; Di. 31.10., 10 – 18 Uhr, 24.12., geschlossen; 25. + 26.12., 10 – 18 Uhr; 31.12., geschlossen; Mo. 01.01.18, 11 – 18 Uhr; Mo. 08.01.18, 10 – 18 Uhr

Admission: 14 Euro, ermäßigt 12 Euro, Familienkarte 24 Euro; Sa, So, Feiertage: 16 Euro, ermäßigt 14 Euro; freier Eintritt für Kinder unter 12 Jahren; Gruppen ab 10 regulär zahlenden Personen: ermäßigter Eintrittspreis pro Person. Für Gruppen ist vorab eine Anmeldung unter Telefon +49(0)69-605098-200 oder erforderlich.
Advance ticket sales online at: Im Onlineshop ist ein Early-Bird-Ticket zum Preis von 10 Euro erhältlich. Das Kontingent ist begrenzt.

Social Media: Das Städel Museum kommuniziert die Ausstellung in den sozialen Medien mit den Hashtags #MatisseBonnard und #Staedel.

Catalogue: Zur Ausstellung erscheint ein Katalog im Prestel Verlag mit 240 Seiten und 208 Farbabbildungen. Mit Beiträgen von Dita Amory, Jenny Graser, Margrit Hahnloser-Ingold, Iris Hasler, Felix Krämer, Elena Schroll, Beate Söntgen, und Daniel Zamani. Deutsche Ausgabe / Englische Ausgabe, 39,90 Euro (Museumsausgabe).

Sponsored by: Societe Generale, Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
With additional support by: Georg und Franziska Speyer’sche Hochschulstiftung

Media partner: Süddeutsche Zeitung
Cultural partner: hr2-kultur