Last week I spoke about the resolution to do more daily drawing so it’s perhaps happy synchronicity that Matisse: Drawing Life is currently at GoMA Brisbane. I spent the day there last week and was able to immerse myself in the wonderful drawings.
This exhibition is one of the most extensive of works on paper by Henri Matisse, a collection of more than 300 drawings in pencil, ink and charcoal as well as lithographs and etchings. I loved the small portraits. These, as with most of his drawings use the utmost economy of line, yet the personality of the sitter is apparent.
"A sign is enough to suggest a face, there is no need to impose eyes and a nose on people…It is important to leave room for the spectator’s reverie."
"My line drawing is the purest and most direct translation of my emotion."
Henri Matisse 1951
Even in later years when he could no longer get out of bed he attached drawing materials to a long pole and drew directly on to the walls of his bedroom.
A highlight for me was the Long Gallery, transformed into The Drawing Room. The room features still life objects, flowers and pot plants, fruit and opulent fabrics, creating a vibrant setting for drawing. Sculptures from the galleries collection complete the atmosphere.
There are regular sessions with models clothed in costume to complete the inspiration. Drawing boards, paper and pencils are provided and on the days there is a model, it pays to get there early for a prime position.
A 21st century addition is the provision for one to do a drawing on a tablet and email to a friend. An added bonus is that each drawing will be entered in a completion to win a trip to Paris. In addition visitors are entertained by regular violin performances.
I spent the most engrossing couple of hours in The Drawing Room – it was so good to be drawing from life once more.