HE was one of the world's most influential artists and now the largest collection of works by Henri Matisse to be seen in Sydney is headed to the Art Gallery of NSW.
Matisse: Life & Spirit, Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris will be at the Gallery from November 20-March 13 and is bound to attract art lovers from far and wide.
The exhibition is part of the 2021-22 Sydney International Art Series and has been developed by the gallery in collaboration with France's leading modern art museum.
Centre Pompidou holds a world-renowned collection of Matisse's work. The exhibition will also include major loans from international institutions and private collections.
Featuring more than 100 works bursting with colour and invention, the exhibition will showcase paintings, drawings, sculptures and late 'cut outs' - many of which have never exhibited in Australia.
It will showcase how Matisse constantly revitalised his art over the course of six decades.
Highlights include Le luxe I (1907) - an important early work, the mid-career masterpiece Decorative figure on an ornamental ground (1925); the monumental 'self-portrait', The sorrow of the king (1952) and Blue nude II (1952) -one of Matisse's most famous cut-outs.
The exhibition will also feature a special presentation devoted to the artist's Chapel of the Rosary in Vence. Matisse considered the chapel to be the culmination of his life's work.
Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand said he was delighted the Art Gallery would stage its first major presentation of Matisse's works.
"The exhibition traces the development of the artist's practice from his early breakthroughs into fauvism through to his late, great experiments in colour," Dr Brand said.
'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..."
Henri Matisse was born in 1869 in northern France.
The prolific and inventive draughtsman, printmaker, painter and sculptor was a pioneer of fauvism and the creator of some of the defining works of artistic modernism.
He lived and worked through a number of personal and political challenges, including two world wars and a battle with cancer.
To celebrate the exhibition, the Art Gallery will also present Matisse Alive - a free program of art, music, performance and community. The program will celebrate Matisse's art as an inspiration and focus for contemporary artists.
Matisse Alive will showcase four new projects by leading contemporary artists Nina Chanel Abney, Sally Smart, Angela Tiatia and Robin White, showcasing modern perspectives on Matisse's work.
The gallery is located on Art Gallery Road, The Domain and is open from 10am-5pm Thursday-Tuesday and from 10am-9pm on Wednesdays.