Fresh from a long weekend in the tri-state D.C. area, I made sure to go to the Baltimore Museum of Art for the first time to see the extensive Matisse collection. The largest in the world. But that’s another story for another time. While I’ve been on the Matisse train of thought lately, I’ve done some reading on our main man and one particular subject stuck a chord with me: his Morocco paintings.
Henri Matisse visited Tangier in 1912 and 1913. His trips remained vividly with him for the rest of his long life. I can see that through his Morocco paintings.(Granted, I’ve never seen them in person yet as these art works are in Russia) His series of sketches and paintings of Morocco landscape, architecture and people were some of my favorite Matisse art works. Not sure if it was because I’ve been to Tangier and walked his footsteps or — yeah, I’m pretty sure that was it.
Matisse did most of his paintings in Tangier’s casbah and in the medina. And of course, at his favorite hotel – Grand Hotel Villa de France, which re-opened after being closed for the last two decades. Matisse produced over twenty paintings and dozens of sketches during his time in Morocco. But his renowned painting, “Window at Tangier”, is the one I want to see the most. This legendary painting was painted inside the hotel’s now famous room and mini-museum, Room 35 . The painting which shows the view from the hotel, on a steep slope overlooking a park with St Andrew’s Anglican Church, the Grand Socco, the Medina and the Kasbah, remains almost unchanged to this day.
I want to see both the painting and the hotel room.
My list just keeps getting longer.