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Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris

This landmark exhibition features over 100 of the groundbreaking artist's works.
By Sarah Ward
October 11, 2021
By Sarah Ward
October 11, 2021

If your day could use a little colour and liveliness from one of the best artists that ever lived, you're in luck — because the Art Gallery of NSW is delivering exactly that. For four months from November 2021–March 2022, the Sydney venue is hosting the huge Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris exhibition. It'll feature more than 100 of Henri Matisse's pieces spanning six decades of his artistry.

Whether you're keen on Matisse's early efforts, including from his Fauvist phase, or you're more fascinated with how his talents progressed over his considerable career, you'll see something suiting your interests on display — with the exhibition running from November 20, 2021–March 13, 2022. Standouts include Le Luxe I 1907, if you're after one of his first pieces; Decorative figure on an ornamental ground 1925, from the middle of his career; and The sorrow of the king 1952, a self-portrait.

Visitors to the exhibition can take a free immersive audio experience using their phones which takes them around the artworks with narration from the exhibition's co-curator Jackie Dunn and music from Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier.

If it all sounds a bit familiar, that's because it was originally due to happen in 2020 as part of AGNSW's Sydney International Art Series, but was postponed for obvious reasons.

As well as Matisse's paintings, sculptures and cut-outs — all from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which boasts quite the collection — AGNSW is also be hosting Matisse Alive, which reflects upon Matisse in a modern context. The gallery-wide event will kicked off in October, letting art lovers indulge in a free festival of Matisse. Think: art, music, performances and dance, all delving into his life, his creations and how his works have inspired artists today. Textile environments, huge paintings and video works are all on the lineup, including by artists such as Nina Chanel Abney, Sally Smart, Angela Tiatia and Robin White.

Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris will display at the Art Gallery of NSW, in Sydney, from November 22, 2021–March 13, 2022. Matisse Alive will run from October 2021–2. For more information — including about AGNSW's full 2021 lineup — visit the Art Gallery of NSW website.

Images: Installation view of ' Matisse_ Life & Spirit Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris' exhibition, on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 20 November 2021 – 13 March 2022 . AGNSW, Mim Stirlig

Updated Monday, November 22, 2021.

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