Sally Smart - A huge Matisse exhibition from Paris is coming to Sydney next year

Divya Venkataraman, timeout, December 11, 2020

There's still a little (a lot) of time to wait, but the Art Gallery of NSW has announced it will play host to a huge exhibition of works by French master painter Henri Matisse in 2021. The Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces From the Centre Pompidou, Paris was supposed to arrive at AGNSW this year, but was postponed in light of the year that was. Now a new date for its arrival has been set, with the exhibition running from November 20, 2021 until March 13, 2022. 


The works are mostly drawn from Paris's Centre Pompidou, home to the largest museum for modern art in Europe. The exhibition will trace six decades of Matisse's work, starting with his early days as a fauvist (an artist more about "painterly qualities" than realistic representation), through his superstar phase in the mid-1920s and '30s to the cut-out artworks of his later career. There'll be several works that have never before been seen in Australia, too. 


While Matisse's style is instantly recognisable, it also evolved enormously over the course of his career. It left an indelible mark on many contemporary artists working now. Matisse Alive, another exhibition at AGNSW, explores the dynamism of Matisse's work by asking contemporary artists to respond to his legacy, particularly in response to his representation of the female form and his time in the Pacific. These artists include American Nina Chanel Abney, Australian Sally Smart, Pasifika-Australian Angela Tiatia and New Zealander Robin White, who use textiles, video and large-scale paintings in their works (including tifaifai and tivaevae, the brightly coloured Pacific textiles which influenced the famed cut-out style that Matisse's work later became synonymous with). 


The exhibition is part of the Sydney International Art Series. You can see it at the Art Gallery of New South Wales between November 20, 2021 and March 13, 2022.

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