Don’t miss the Matisse exhibition in Johannesburg


Henri Matisse working on a brush and ink portrait in around 1946. Photo: Rogi Andre


The much anticipated Henri Matisse – Rhythm and Meaning exhibition opened at Johannesburg’s Standard Bank Gallery recently.

Art lovers can experience the genius and versatility of the French modernist master’s first exhibition in Africa for free and Standard Bank has also made available a free shuttle for patrons to attend the exhibition until September 17.


Co-curated by Patrice Deparpe, director of the Musée départemental Matisse, Le Cateau-Cambrésis and Federico Freschi, executive dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, this wide-ranging Henri Matisse- Rhythm and Meaning exhibition features paintings, drawings, paper cut-outs sculptures and prints.

The works are drawn from his early Fauvist years, through his interest in exoticism and orientalism, to the paper cut-outs that he produced during a late-career creative renaissance.

Central to the exhibition is the full suite of 20 prints in the artist’s 1947 book, Jazz, including images of clowns, horses and other circus acts. The exhibition’s title draws from Matisse’s pronouncement that “jazz is rhythm and meaning”.

For patrons who want to know more about how much the artist Henri Matisse has influenced our modern lives and what influenced his work, you can enjoy a free screening of the BBC Modern Masters Series: Henri Matisse at The Bioscope, in Maboneng, on Sunday, August 7 and Sunday, August 21 at 3 pm. Pre-bookings have to be made on

Those who want their own Matisse-inspired portrait, can upload a photo of themselves along with the hashtag #MatisseMyPic on Twitter or Instagram and the gallery will recreate it to look like a Matisse masterpiece and send it back via Twitter or Instagram for use as a profile picture or just to share with the world.


Patrons can also enjoy the exhibition through a free walkabout with local arts educator, Wilhelm van Rensburg, between 1 pm and 2 pm on most Wednesdays and Fridays for the duration of the exhibition. The walkabouts promise to deliver fascinating insights into Matisse and his art.


The Henri Matisse – Rhythm and Meaning is presented by Standard Bank in partnership with the Embassy of France in South Africa and the French Institute of South Africa, and with the support of the Musée départemental Matisse du Cateau-Cambrésis, Air France, Total and Air Liquide.

The Standard Bank Gallery, located on the corner of Simmonds and Frederick streets in central Johannesburg, offers free, safe undercover parking.

The gallery hours will be extended for the duration of the Henri Matisse – Rhythm and Meaning exhibition: Mondays to Fridays from 8 am to 4.30 pm, and Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission to the exhibition is free.


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