When Inspirations Hits
Tuesday 28 February 2012 Share FacebookDelicious Email


Imagine an exhibition that allows you to immerse yourself in an artist’s daily practice.  An exhibition that encourages you to express yourself after being inspired by the art works you’ve just encountered. That’s what The Drawing Room installation at GOMA is all about – part of the ‘Matisse: Drawing Life’ exhibition.

Over the course of the ‘Matisse Drawing Life’ exhibition, The Drawing Room has been a space for observation, contemplation and interpretation. The three thematic displays of The Drawing Room have been informed by particular periods and places in Henri Matisse’s career and by his ‘palette of objects’ such as ceramic and glass vessels, textiles, Moroccan screens, tables and armchairs that regularly feature in his work.

Giacomo Ginotti | Italy 1837-1897 | Lucretia 19th century | Marble | Gift of Mr Justice Adrian Clark and Mrs Fitzmaurice Stacke 1933 | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

The Academy section takes its cue from Matisse’s early classical training in drawing and painting, which he undertook in Paris in the 1890s and early 1900s. He perfected his technique in the studios of established painters such as Adolphe William Bouguereau and Gustave Moreau; attended life-drawing classes at the École des Beaux-Arts to master the depiction of the human figure; and studied the arts of antiquity during visits to the Musée du Louvre, where he copied paintings, plaster casts and marble sculptures.

The Studio is inspired by Matisse’s working environments in the South of France, where he occupied several studios in Nice and the surrounding areas. Photographs of Matisse at work during this period show windows shuttered or screened against the bright Mediterranean light, drawings pinned all over the walls, multiple surfaces covered with vases of flowers, cages filled with doves and songbirds, and a variety of still-life arrangements based on a familiar cast of objects – the striped armchair, the pewter jug, the ‘Tabac Royal’ jar, and the Moorish table.

Oceania is based on what was perhaps the greatest influence on Matisse’s art – his curiosity about different conditions of light. This curiosity drove him southwards, moving away from the muted grey light of northern France to the silvery Mediterranean light of Nice, travelling from there to Morocco and, eventually, to the United States and Tahiti.

Every day Matisse drew from life, and what he drew from his art was life itself.

2 commentsSubmit yours
  1. The drawing room was an inspired and inspiring idea. It has been wonderful as a way to engage with the artwork and with the lovely staff. Instead of merely walking in, walking around, peering at artwork and walking out, we have had a chance to interact with others at the exhibition and try our hand at creating art for ourselves. Well done! The gallery would do well to create a similar space after this exhibition is over.

  2. As a teacher who has always used the gallery for further inspiring her teaching practice and being reeducated in pedagogical practice,I was overwhelmed and in awe of what the gallery had created for the artist in everyone. it was the rare moment of being able to stay and take into oneself the essence of the work lovingly viewed over a few short hours. I have taken time off to explore the world and open my heart and eyes to what is out there, so this was the perfect start. I sent many of my ex-students whom I had taken to the QAG earlier last year to draw the beautiful bronze collection that was on display, some of which had been moved over to the GOMA for the Matisse Drawing Room. My students are young so they took their mothers or should I say their mothers took them! Their mother’s rekindled their love of art and called their friends…It was a snow-ball effect…all the way from a little village in northern NSW. So thank you to the inspiring curators who brought many folk out of the hills and back into their own “art heart”.

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