Biskra : Dreams of an Oasis

October 27th 2017 - January 28th 2018

Biskra. Seguia dans la Vielle Ville,
Marabout de Sidi Lahsen
Photochrome Zurich, Library of Congress

Matisse spent two weeks in Algeria and the oasis of Biskra in the spring of 1906. He was profoundly affected by this first contact with the Orient.
This exhibition investigates visual culture at Biskra, called the "Queen of the Oases" by the Arabs. Vintage photographs and postcards of the day are used to picture a winter tourism resort complete with hot spring baths and a casino near the vast date-palm groves. Biskra's tourist industry exploited the clichés of Orientalism to attract numerous foreigners to an exotic location accessible by rail.
Among them were artists and writers of the avant-garde: André Gide whose experiences at Biskra led to his first novel The Immoralist, the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók who recorded Arabic songs there, and Matisse whose visit helped him renounce the picturesque and give himself over to reverie thereafter. Memories of Biskra surfaced in his odalisques painted in Nice during the 1920s, when the local Victorine Studios were shooting Rex Ingram's film The Garden of Allah, partly set in Biskra.
This exhibition has been made possible by the Institut du monde arabe, Paris, the Australian Research Council and the University of Sydney, Salim Becha of Algiers, Gilles Dupont of Nice, and the Algerian Consulate in Nice.

>> Presentation <<

The Matisse Museum is situated on the hill of Cimiez, not far from the Franciscan monastery with its Italianate gardens, the Hotel Regina where Matisse used to reside, and the Gallo-Roman ruins. Since the 5th of January 1963 the Museum has been welcoming vistors to its collection of works left by the artist (and his heirs) to the city of Nice where he lived from 1918 until 1954.

Adress : 164, av. des Arènes de Cimiez 06000 Nice.
Tel : (+33) (0)4 93 81 08 08 (informations)
Tel : (+33) (0)4 93 53 40 53 (conservation)
Fax : (+33) (0)4 93 53 00 22

- Practical informations
- Temporary exhibitions (in french only)

Some works might be missing for lending or conservation reasons. [more information]
Works placed in storage at the moment :
Henri Matisse, Danseuse créole, Nice, 1950, paper cut-outs
Henri Matisse, Les Abeilles, Vence, 1948, paper cut-outs
Henri Matisse, Nu bleu IV, Nice, 1952, paper cut-outs
Henri Matisse, Femme à l'amphore, Nice, 1953, paper cut-outs


Exceptional loans from Fondation MAPFRE to the Matisse museum

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