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Matisse in the Studio

5 August — 12 November 2017

This exhibition is now closed

See upcoming exhibitions


"Matisse in the Studio comes as close as any exhibition could to bottling the essence of the artist’s creativity"

The Telegraph


"It encourages you to use your imagination in something like the way Matisse used his"

Evening Standard


“Fascinating, and highly illuminating”

The Times

"This is a perfectly conceived small show of big themes"

Financial Times

"To be in this show… is to feel as if you are in Matisse’s multitudinous studio"

The Observer


"A thrilling journey through the mind of an artist"

The Upcoming

Step into the studio of Henri Matisse, brimming with the artist’s treasured objects. Focusing exclusively on their important role in his work for the first time, we will reveal how this eclectic collection took on new life in his transcendent art.

Matisse drew his collection from the far corners of the world: Buddhist statuary from Thailand, Bamana figures from Mali, furniture and textiles from North Africa. Rarely of material value, these objects were nonetheless precious. Offering points of departure to which he could return again and again, they appear in his work in different guises and across spans of decades, reinvented afresh in each new setting.

Matisse’s objects formed his repertoire, but they also provided him with influences from beyond the limits of Western art. African sculpture and masks were a revelation, suggesting more expressive models for depicting the human figure and face. Later, Matisse adorned his Nice studio with props from the Islamic world to create the sensuous sets for his ‘odalisques’, in which a harmonious synergy emerges between figure and object. And as his oeuvre reached its joyous apex in his cut-out period, he looked to the concise precision of Chinese calligraphy and African textiles as he sought to invent his own simplified language of signs.

This sumptuous exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the artist’s personal collection, as well as the paintings, sculptures and drawings it inspired. Seen together, they reveal how Matisse’s masterful vision of rich and masterful energy first stemmed from the collage of patterns and rhythms which he found in the world of objects.

All ticket prices include £2.50 for a printed gallery guide.

Booking information for Friends of the RA
The exhibition will be held in our smaller Sackler Galleries and we expect demand to be high. To ensure the best possible experience, Friends are required to book a free timed ticket, whether they are visiting on preview days or during the normal run of the exhibition.

This exhibition is organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in partnership with the Musée Matisse, Nice.

5 August — 12 November 2017

Saturday – Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm

£15.50 (without donation £14). Concessions available. Friends of the RA, and under 16s when with a fee-paying adult, go free.

The Sackler Wing, Burlington House