The Royal Academy of Arts will concentrate on how the personal collection of objects of Henri Matisse provided inspiration for his own work in a new exhibition on display from August. 

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The Moorish Screen, 1921, Henri Matisse, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Bequest of Lisa Norris Elkins, 1950. Photo (c) Philadelphia museum of Art/Art Resource, NY (c) Succession H. Matisse/DACS 2017. 

In order to explore the working practises of how each of these objects were transformed in his work, 35 objects belonging to Matisse will be displayed alongside 65 of Matisse’s paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and cut-outs.

During his life, Matisse acquired an eclectic collection of objects that ranged from items such as a Roman torso, African masks and Chinese porcelain as well as North African textiles from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While he selected many of the objects on the basis of  their aesthetic appeal, they actually had a significance on Matisse’s creative process.

With many of the objects selected for the exhibition displayed for the first time outside of France, Matisse in the Studio will reveal how the artist would continuously return to his collection throughout his working life.

The exhibition will be based around five themed sections which are: The Object as an Actor, The Nude, The Face, The Studio as Theatre and The Language of Signs.

Henri Matisse said in 1951 “I have worked all my life before the same objects…. The object is an actor. A good actor can have a part in ten different plays; an object can play a role in ten different pictures.” His collection was so important that he would take it with him wherever he travelled – even to temporary residences.

The exhibition will offer an insight into the artist’s studio life and exploring how the collage of patterns and rhythms, which he found in the world of objects, played a pivotal role in the development of his masterful vision of colour and form.

Matisse in the Studio will be displayed at the Royal Academy of Arts from the 5th August until the 12th November. For more information visit:



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