History of the Collection

Pierre Matisse grew up in a household rich with art, and the collection he developed with Tana is one of their greatest legacies.  Masterpieces by Pierre’s famous father provided the collection’s core, along with outstanding examples of works by artists associated with his gallery. 

An important part of this collection was inherited by Tana, who occasionally added to it and thought of herself as its custodian, cooperating generously with scholars and museum curators involved with special research and exhibition projects. 

Honoring Tana’s wishes, in 2003 the Foundation donated over 100 key works by Balthus, Carrington, Chagall, Giacometti, Matisse, Mirò, and Tanguy to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,  one of the greatest single bequests of twentieth-century art in the museum’s history.

The Foundation’s current collection consists of the remainder of Pierre and Tana’s acquisitions.  The Foundation cooperates with specialists when its holdings can make a meaningful contribution to publications and exhibitions. To discuss projects that might include works from the Foundation’s collection, please write to us at: foundationcollection@pmgmf.org.



Pierre and Tana Matisse in their New York City home.
Photograph by Hans Namuth for Connaissance des Arts, February 1987.



Tana Matisse enjoying the company of Joan Miró at the artist’s home in Mallorca, circa 1980



Pierre and Tana Matisse with Marc Chagall at a reception at The Art Institute of Chicago, 1977



Pierre and Tana Matisse visiting Balthus and Setsuko Ideta in Rossinière, Switzerland, circa 1988



Tana Matisse and Zao Wou-Ki in his studio, ca. 1992



The entrance of the Pierre Matisse Gallery in the Fuller building in NYC where Pierre Matisse maintained his gallery for over 50 years