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Matisse: Life & Spirit

Art, Paintings Art Gallery of NSW , Sydney Until Sunday March 13 2022
The vibrant colours of French artist Henri Matisse's  The sorrow of the king
Photograph: Centre Pompidou © Succession H Matisse/Copyright Agency 2021 | The sorrow of the king (La tristesse du roi), 1952, Henri Matisse

Time Out says

Art Gallery NSW present the largest collection of the revered artist's work ever displayed in Sydney

After the winter that was, we all need a massive dose of vibrant colour in our lives right now. Well, Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) listened and delivered. Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou presents the largest collection of the revered painter’s joyous work to ever wing its way to Sydney, with thanks to the world-famous Parisian home of contemporary art.

You’ll be able to soak up the spirit-lifting sight of more than 100 of his brilliantly inventive creations – not just paintings but also sculptures, drawings, cut-outs and more – from November 20 right through to March 13, 2022. The show takes in the full scope of his six decade-spanning career, with many of the inclusions having never been displayed in Australia. A special presentation focused on his work in Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, in the south of France, is at the heart of the exhibition. It’s considered to be the culmination of his life’s work. Sydney-based architect Richard Johnson has conjured up life-sized maquettes of the chapel windows.

AGNSW head curator of international art Justin Paton worked with special exhibitions curator Jackie Dunn and Centre Pompidou’s Dr Aurélie Verdier to bring this glowing exhibition to life.

AGNSW director Dr Michael Brand is delighted. “We are proud to offer our visitors an encounter with one of the world’s greatest collections of Matisse’s work here in Sydney on Gadigal country. The exhibition traces the development of the artist’s practice from his early breakthroughs into fauvism through to his late, great experiments in colour. These masterworks from the Centre Pompidou will reveal Matisse’s profound lifelong search to convey the vitality, joy and energy of the world as he saw it, which couldn’t be more relevant to our audiences today.”

And in honour of Matisse’s endless creativity, the gallery presents a gallery-wide festival in his honour, dubbed Matisse Alive. It brings together artworks form the collection that speak to his work, plus a free program of art, music and performance, opening up a dialogue with contemporary artists. Contributors include American artist Nina Chanel Abney, who explores race, gender, homophobia and politics in her work; Australian Sally Smart, a proponent of cut-out art; Angela Tiatia, who unpicks neo-colonialism; and New Zealander Robin White. There is also be a stunning display of tivaevae – the Polynesian art of quilting – crafted by the Cook Islands community of South-Western Sydney.

The gallery is open daily 10am-5pm, and tickets are on sale now.

Are you an art lover? Check out our must-see guide here


Venue name: Art Gallery of NSW
Address: Art Gallery Road, The Domain
Price: $16-$75

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