Just when the incoherent presentation of the permanent collection or the less than exhilarating installation in the garden prompts thoughts that the Museum of Modern Art is in league with the devil, the museum uncorks something wonderful. Witness the recent brilliant survey of Paul Cézanne’s drawings and watercolors or the revealing overview of the self-taught artist Joseph E. Yoakum. Now, there’s the dazzling “Matisse: The Red Studio,” a meticulous study of one of the most celebrated and influential works in the museum’s collection—indeed, in the history of modernism: Henri Matisse’s 1911 view of his studio, at once a tally of his achievements to date and a harbinger of things to come.1 Organized by Ann Temkin,


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