The first exhibition on view in the new Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies showcases Henri Matisse’s graceful use of line in bronze sculpture and works on paper, drawn from the BMA’s collection. Although best known as a painter, Matisse was engaged as a draftsman, sculptor, and printmaker, relying heavily on line to create contours and shapes.
Richard Yarde’s virtuosic watercolors transformed the medium with large-scale colorful paintings often composed on multiple attached sheets of paper and executed without preliminary drawing. Equally inspired by historical Black photographers, European post-Impressionists and by a keen political purpose, Yarde (1939–2011, Massachusetts) drew acclaim early in his career for his masterful portraits of Black leaders—athletes, swing-era dancers, blues and jazz musicians—as well as individuals he knew growing up in the multicultural Boston neighborhood of Roxbury.
Mickalene Thomas’ immersive two-story installation transforms the BMA’s East Lobby into a living room for Baltimore reflective of Thomas’ signature aesthetic influenced by 1970s and 1980s motifs. The experience–the most expansive commission undertaken by both the artist and the BMA—extends onto an enclosed terrace, where Thomas has curated a presentation of works by artists with ties to Baltimore. Featured artists include: Derrick Adams, Zoë Charlton Theresa Chromati, Alex Dukes, Dominiqua S. Eldridge, Devin N. Morris, Clifford Owens, and D’Metrius John Rice.
Suzanne F. Cohen’s (1935–2018) extraordinary leadership and enduring support for the BMA touched every area of the Museum. In addition to chairing the Board and numerous Trustee committees, Cohen helped establish an endowment for free admission and funded many exhibitions, commissions, restorations, public programs, and gifts of art.
Thaddeus Mosley (b. 1926, Pennsylvania) transforms wood into inventive abstract forms that source inspiration from the art of the African diaspora, jazz, and the European modernist avant-garde. Using only a mallet, chisel, and masterful joinery techniques, Mosley, largely self-taught, reworks felled timber from local sawmills into monumental biomorphic expressions inspired by ancient and modern cultures from around the world.
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669, Netherlands) is universally acknowledged as one of history’s greatest etchers, uniquely manipulating the etching needle and ink to create contemplative and affecting prints that have engaged viewers across centuries. His influence on the history of Western printmaking is foundational, especially for printmakers of the Etching Revival (1850–1930), such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Édouard Manet, James A. M. Whistler, Mary Cassatt, and Mary Nimmo Moran.
New works by Lauren Frances Adams, Mequitta Ahuja, Cindy Cheng, and LaToya Hobbs—all past recipients of Joan Mitchell Foundation recognition with connections to Baltimore—emphasize the importance of continued support for artists at all stages in their careers. Whether through the shifting boundaries between self and other, contemplations about the cycles of life, or provocations to the public about shared histories, each artist engages deeply with vital aspects of contemporary culture.