Five important works pay homage to half a century of Matisse mastery



South Africans will bear witness to 50 years of unbridled creativity during the Henri Matisse|Rhythm and Meaning exhibition at the Standard Bank Gallery from 13 July to 17 September 2016 – including several key works from the artist’s oeuvre.

Patrice Deparpe, Director of the Musée départemental Matisse, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, has highlighted five of Matisse’s most important works that will be exhibited in Johannesburg during this historic art event. He is co-curator of the exhibition along with Federico Freschi, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg.

The works Deparpe has selected cover the main periods in Matisse’s artistic life, from his early sculptures and his Fauvist oil paintings inspired by African art to his seminal Jazz stencil prints and paper cut-outs.

  1. Le Serf (l'Esclave) (The Serf) 1900‐1903
    Bronze sculpture
    One of Matisse’s earliest sculptures, inspired by Rodin, on the topic of freedom. The sculpture’s arms were broken off in an accident, but Matisse believed that, rather than damaging the piece, the calamity had actually rendered it more effective. From that day on, he sought to remove the superfluous from his works.

  2. Marguerite au chapeau de cuir (Marguerite in a Leather Hat) 1914
    Oil on canvas, 82cm x 65cm
    This portrait of Matisse’s daughter was inspired by Fang masks from Gabon. The work exemplifies how important African art was for Matisse in the early 20th century – in fact, it was he who introduced Picasso to African art, which also went on to feature strongly in the latter’s work. During his travels in North Africa, Matisse collected objects and textiles and went on to make important works influenced by Africa.

  3. Icare (Icarus), Reprint from the first plate of the book Jazz. 1947
    Gouache stencil print on Arches paper, 42cm x 65 cm
    Matisse’s 1947 artist’s book Jazz forms the heart of the exhibition, symbolising as it does Europe’s newly regained freedom after World War II. It is also proof of the importance of music for Matisse. The Jazz prints represent the freedom of making music, with the jazz musicians improvising and innovating like Matisse did in creating the paper cut-outs that make up the series.

  4. 4) Femme à la gandoura bleue (Woman with a Blue Gandurah). 1951
    Oil on canvas, 81cm x 65cm
    This, the last painting done by Matisse, shows a woman wearing a gandurah, a long, loose-flowing gown from North African – further proof of the importance of Africa’s influence on Matisse’s work. The painting will be presented with the gandurah from Matisse’s collection featured in the painting.

  5. Maquette du vitrail Vigne (Maquette for Stained Glass Window, Vine) 1953
    Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, and charcoal sketch, 290cm x 115cm
    The paper cut-out Vigne is a design for a stained-glass window that was installed in the stairwell of the home of Matisse’s son Pierre in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. It is a delicate work that travels very rarely. It has been included in the exhibition to celebrate a passion that France and South Africa share: the vine and wine.


Henri Matisse|Rhythm and Meaning is presented by Standard Bank in partnership with the Embassy of France in South Africa and the French Institute of South Africa, and with the support of the Musée départemental Matisse du Cateau-Cambrésis, Air France, Total and Air Liquide.  


Curators: Patrice Deparpe and Federico Freschi
Venue: Standard Bank Gallery, c/o Simmonds and Frederick Streets, Johannesburg
Admission:  Free

Free public walkabouts hosted by art educator Wilhelm van Rensburg, will take place at 13 :00 and 14:00 on the following days:  13, 15, 20, 22 and 29 July; 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26 and 31 August; and 1, 7, 9, 14 and 16 September.  
Gallery parking can be booked with Sue Isaac 011 631 4467

Twitter: @StandardbankArt #MatisseinSA
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