Drawings by Henri Matisse: Exhibition in Australia

‘Danseuse acrobate’ by Henri Matisse, 1931. Lithograph. Collection: Bibliotheque nationale de France

Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is holding an important exhibition placing Australia at the forefront of artistic scholarship and creative excellence.

Henri Matisse is one of the great modern artists of the twentieth century who’s life spanned from 1869-1954. His powerful influence continues to shape creative minds today. The Brisbane exhibition of Henri Matisse contains 305 drawings celebrating an exemplary creative life, which honoured the timeless elements of discipline, practice and hard work.

Matisse devoted himself to perfecting the creative process, as a painter he was a master of colour, but his drawings display a special intuitive feeling and love for the rhythm of line which is clearly illustrated in the GOMA exhibition.

Matisse began his career studying law, but took up drawing when struck down by appendicitis, which left him bed ridden. Art became his passion in 1889. “From the moment I held the box of colours in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.”  Matisse says.

He drew everyday and committed himself to the search for creative truth. His wise mother warned him not to follow the rules of art, but rather his feelings. Matisse’s drawings record an undying pursuit of naïve simplicity revealing a child like creativity that respected purity and elegance, which in his mind was best articulated through simple gestures.

Henri Matisse | Patitcha souriante (Patitcha smiling) 1947 | Purchased 1993 with funds from the International Exhibitions Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Henri Matisse 1947/Succession H Matisse/Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2011

Many artists consider Matisse to be the godfather of twentieth century art. He wanted art to uplift people. To set them free. Acknowledging that art should never create a prison where people find themselves locked in. Art should set creative people free. Free from style. Free from reputations. Free from success. Even free from expectations imposed by a corrupted world. Furthermore, Matisse believed art should bring peace and relaxation to a troubled world.

Matisse once said, “What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art which could be for every mental worker… for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue”.

I think you might agree that people need a release from the endemic physical fatigue and heightened stress levels of this modern world. Maybe you would like to be refreshed by the simple purity and calm elegance of a creative master like Matisse. The ‘Matisse: Drawing Life’ shows from December 2-March 4, 2012. Click on the link for further details http://qag.qld.gov.au/exhibitions/current/matisse_drawing_life

Do you find when you walk into a gallery and enjoy the art, it bring you relaxation and peace of mind? Maybe you would like to make a comment or express your thoughts on Matisse? I would love to hear your ideas, please post them below.

About Simon Brushfield

Simon Brushfield is an artist whose work has been described as ‘poetic, enigmatic and dreamlike’ (Michael Berry, "Selected Contemporary Artists of Australia" book). His paintings have been exhibited and sold across Australia and internationally. If you enjoyed this post, sign up to Simons VIP list and have posts sent directly to your inbox.

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