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Exclusive Matisse Exhibition Marks Gallery Modern Art's Fifth Birthday

BRISBANE.- One of the most significant exhibitions of works on paper by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) ever mounted will show exclusively at Brisbane's Gallery Modern Art (GoMA) this summer.

Queensland Art Gallery Director Tony Ellwood said 'Matisse Drawing Life' would be an exhibition of more than 300 drawings, prints, paper cut-outs and artist books by one of the 2oth century 's greatest artists.

'Opening on December 2, the exhibition will coincide with the fifth anniversary of GoMA, the Queensland Art Gallery's second site,' Mr Ellwood said.

Along with Picasso, Henri Matisse was regarded by many as having decisively changed the direction of art in the early 20th century. This exhibition is the most comprehensive presentation of Matisse's Drawings and prints ever mounted.

'The exhibition has been organized by the Queensland Art Gallery and Art Exhibitions Australia with the cooperation of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), one of France's most important national cultural heritage collections, which is lending over 100 prints and drawings to the exhibition.

'The exhibition is presented by Events Queensland, with Principal Sponsor Santos once again supporting the Gallery in this ambitious endeavour,' Mr Ellwood said.

'Matisse Drawing Life', which was initiated by the artist's grandson. Claude Duthuit, will also feature significant loans from major international museums including: St Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum; the Musée Matisse, Nice; the Musée Matisse, Le Cateau-Cambresis; the Musee national d'art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; and the Baltimore Museum of Art; as well as the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

'Many people know Matisse as the master of colour but this exhibition will reveal why he was also the master of line,' Mr Ellwood said.

'Throughout his career drawing underpinned all of his work, regardless of whether it was painting, sculpture or print.

'From early charcoal sketches through to the career, sinuous lines of the later pen and ink drawings, Matisse used line to effortlessly evoke a face, object or scene.

‘We are indebted to the co-curators, Céline Chicha-Castex, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Prints in the Department of Prints and Drawings, Bibliothèque nationale de France, and independent Paris-based curator Emilie Ovaere-Corthay, who have brought a unique insight into the art of a great master, and to advisor Isabelle Monod Fontaine.

‘The Gallery has also commissioned contemporary French artist Christophe Cuzin to design the exhibition installation. Cuzin has previously designed Matisse exhibitions in France and Brazil.’

Events Queensland Chief Executive John O'Sullivan said the announcement was the latest in a series of major art coups secured by the Queensland Art Gallery with support of Events Queensland.

‘Our unprecedented investment in high-calibre international art shows in Brisbane has delivered a $45 million boost to tourism and the state economy since 2007 and we want to keep that momentum going,’ Mr O'Sullivan said.

‘This announcement follows the ‘Surrealism: The Poetry of Dreams’ exhibition opening at GoMA on June 11, and the announcement of ‘Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado’, coming to the Queensland Art Gallery next June.’

‘Matisse: Drawing Life’ shows from December 2, 2011 to March 4, 2012.

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