MoMA to Keep Matisse’s Room-Sized Cut-Out ‘The Swimming Pool’ on Permanent View

The large-scale installation is rejoining the permanent collection on view for the first time in 20 years

"The Swimming Pool," late summer 1952. (Photo courtesy Museum of Modern Art)
Henri Matisse, The Swimming Pool, late summer 1952. (Photo courtesy Museum of Modern Art)

After a blockbuster run as the centerpiece of MoMA’s recent exhibition “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs,” Matisse’s The Swimming Pool will go back on display for good at the museum in April, according to a spokesperson from the institution.

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“MoMA’s viewers will now be able to encounter this important work in the context of the museum’s collection,” said Karl Buchberg, co-curator of the “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” and senior conservator at MoMA.

The museum confirmed to the Observer that The Swimming Pool will be installed in the museum’s fifth-floor Painting and Sculpture galleries in the next few weeks, and will open to the public in early April. It’s especially good news for those who didn’t get the chance to see the massively popular cut-outs show before it closed Tuesday.

The Swimming Pool is a room-sized cut-out installation that Matisse created in his dining room at his home in Nice in 1952. He cut figures of swimmers, divers, and sea life from painted blue paper, pinning them onto a band of white paper, which he then placed on the wall above eye level. The piece encircled the whole room, with breaks for the windows and door.

MoMA acquired The Swimming Pool in 1975, but it hasn’t been on display to the public in over 20 years. In 2008 conservators began work to bring the installation closer to its original appearance. The work’s new configuration for the cut-outs show recreated the height, color, and layout of the piece as it appeared in Matisse’s dining room.

MoMA kept its doors open 24 hours a day last Friday through Sunday to give the public a better shot at seeing Matisse’s celebrated works in paper and gouache, and many advanced tickets for the show still managed to sell out. The museum enacted a timed ticket policy for the exhibit—which it has done just twice since 2008—after its run at the Tate Modern drew record crowds.

MoMA to Keep Matisse’s Room-Sized Cut-Out ‘The Swimming Pool’ on Permanent View