By Laura Itzkowitz
October 10, 2014

From Tahiti to Cannes, motifs from Henri Matisse’s travels appear as mimosas, birds, jellyfish, and sharks. Vibrant shades of cobalt and vermillion dance across his compositions. Neither painting nor sculpture—though elements of both are present—Matisse’s cut-outs conjure up images of the exotic locales that inspired him.

On October 12, the most extensive exhibition of Matisse's cut-outs opens at MoMA, after a six month run at London's Tate Modern, where it was the museum's most popular show ever.

The expertly curated exhibit progresses from Matisse's early cut-outs, including a maquette for his mural at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, to larger commissions, like his stained glass windows for the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, France. Among the larger works is The Swimming Pool, which Matisse created for his dining room in Nice, inspired by divers in Cannes. The room-size work is on display for the first time in over twenty years, following a five year conservation. We couldn't be happier to see it, and the rest of his exuberant découpages.

October 12—February 8. Timed tickets required.

Laura Itzkowitz is a researcher at Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter at @lauraitzkowitz.