The big blockbuster show, once a rarity, is now common fare at the Denver Art Museum, the Colorado History Museum, the museum formerly known as the Denver Museum of Natural History, and even the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Well, they need to beef up those attendance numbers, don't they? Among these big shows, one stands out above the others: the recently closed Matisse From the Baltimore Museum of Art at the Denver Art Museum. The show highlighted the collection of a pair of wealthy lesbian spinsters, Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone, who put together a major selection of Matisse paintings, some purchased directly from the master himself. Not surprisingly, among the Matisses bought by the Cones were those that took up the topic of the female nude. First among these is the "Blue Nude" from 1907, which means that aside from being the best major show this past year, Matisse also featured the best painting to have ever been exhibited in Colorado.
Readers' choice: Matisse From the Baltimore Museum of Art