BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new center dedicated to the study of French artist Henri Matisse is set to open at the Baltimore Museum of Art on Dec. 12.

With more than 1,200 of the artist’s works in its holdings, the museum claims to have the largest public collection of Matisse’s paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures in the world.

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The 2,500-square-foot Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies includes a dedicated exhibit gallery; a library and study room for scholars and students; storage; and offices, the museum said.

Artist Stanley Whitney created a set of three stained-glass windows for the space.

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To mark the opening of the center, the BMA is presenting “Matisse: The Sinuous Line,” an exhibit exploring “the artist’s graceful use of line and innate ability to suggest personality and mood with just several strokes or with many more in his fully fleshed-out compositions,” the museum said. The show is the first installation in a two-part series.

“With the inauguration of the Marder Matisse Center, we are establishing a new resource that invites research, discovery, and dialogue about Matisse’s significance to art history and his ongoing relevance to contemporary artists,” said museum director Christopher Bedford. “Our vision for the center is to engage scholars and the public alike by making a greater portion of our Matisse collection visible and by dedicating space where individuals can gather to learn and engage with the work and each other.”

An exhibit examining the friendship between Baltimore collector Etta Cone and Matisse, “A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore,” is currently on view until Jan. 2. In 1949, Cone bequeathed the collection of art she and her sister Claribel compiled, including 600 Matisse works.

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The BMA is also planning on Dec. 12 to open the Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, providing a new exhibit space for the museum’s 67,000 works on paper.

CBS Baltimore Staff