Henri Matisse The Master: Works from 1917-1952

9 May - 16 August 2008

The Matisse exhibition was graced by by Jean-Mattieu– the great grandson of the artist who was present at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

The exhibition signifies STPI’s continual dedication towards cultivating appreciation for fine art in all mediums. It aims to provide an opportunity for audiences in Singapore to come up close and personal with works that show the thought processes of a modern art Master. Taking centre stage are lithograph prints by Matisse that showcase his passages to the completed works, while the drawings and paintings act as supplement to this installation.

Matisse’s fascination with form is highlighted in these exquisite studies on the female form and preoccupation with the Oriental inspired interiors and textiles. In these works, Matisse conveys the sensuality of the bare female form not through erotic detail but in the simplicity of his drawings. These simplified forms become one with their surroundings (as in the Orientalist odalisque portrayals), at the same time serving the interests of an artistic experiment in form and composition. These works highlighted the virtuousity of Matisse, where the restraint handling of lines clearly embodies the spirit of the artist.

Matisse is deservedly recognised as the artist, together with Picasso, who laid the compositional foundations of modern 20th century art. The two became lifelong friends as well as rivals and are often compared; one key difference between them is that Matisse drew and painted from nature, while Picasso was much more inclined to work from imagination. The subjects painted most frequently by both artists were women and still lifes, with Matisse more likely to place his figures in fully realised interiors. The exhibition is an especially fitting continuation to the previous year’s blockbuster installation, Pablo Picasso: The Vollard Suite. These bodies of work reveal and validate the importance of the print medium in both artists’ explorations and processes towards realising their masterpieces.