Matisse: Life and Spirit

Sat 20th November, 2021 – Sun 13th March, 2022
10:00am – 5:00pm
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain Sydney NSW 2000
Price: $30 Adult, $27 Concession, $16 Child/Youth (5-17 years)
Revel in more than 100 innovative, expressive works by the influential French artist at the Art Gallery of NSW this summer.

Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris is a joyful immersion into the life and work of this great French artist, from his early fauvism to late ‘cut-outs’ – many of which have never been seen in Australia.

A painter, printmaker and sculptor, Henri Matisse (1869-1954) perpetually renewed and re-envisioned his practice across six decades. “I am unable to distinguish between the feeling I have for life and my way of expressing it,” he once said. Born in northern France, Matisse was a tirelessly inventive draughtsman, printmaker, painter and sculptor. His practice led him to pioneer fauvism and create some of the defining works of artistic modernism. He dedicated his life to art, while living through personal and political challenges, including two world wars and a battle with cancer.

Brimming with colour, joy and dynamic energy, this major exhibition has been gathered from France’s leading modern art museum, Centre Pompidou – which holds an extensive collection of Matisse’s work – and displays more than 100 works, including paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Matisse: Life & Spirit journeys from his pioneering experiments as a fauvist right through to his sole architectural achievement. In 1947, he designed a chapel for the town of Vence in the south of France, transposing his ideas on line and colour into a physical environment. In collaboration with Sydney architect Richard Johnson, the exhibition will feature life-size maquettes for the stained glass windows of the chapel.

In conjunction with the exhibition is Matisse Alive, a free gallery-wide program of art, music, performance, and community, inspired by the artist.

Matisse Alive features new works by Nina Chanel Abney (US), Sally Smart (AU), Angela Tiatia (Sāmoa/AU) and Robin White (NZ), which reframe Matisse for contemporary contexts, particularly his imagining of the Pacific and representation of women. This will be complemented by an exhibit of tivaevae — the Polynesian art of quilting — from the Cook Islands community of southwestern Sydney. These and other Pacific textile traditions greatly influenced Matisse’s famed ‘cut-outs’.

Matisse: Life & Spirit is part of the Sydney International Art Series 2021-22 and has been curated by the Art Gallery of NSW in collaboration with Centre Pompidou in Paris. Tickets on sale now. More information here.

The Art Gallery is guided by the NSW Government’s health guidelines. See more details.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Art Gallery of New South Wales.