The largest solo exhibition by Henri Matisse in China to date, will be presented by UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing


Poster of “Matisse by Matisse”.jpg

UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing announces the largest solo exhibition by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) in China to date will be presented from March through June 2022. This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Musée Matisse Le Cateau-Cambrésis and features some 300 works by the artist from the museum’s collection. It covers Matisse’s entire career and range, encompassing mediums including oil painting, sculpture, ink drawings, prints, cut-outs, illustrations, sketches, and textiles. The exhibition will subsequently travel to UCCA Edge, Shanghai, where it runs from July through October 2022.


Born on December 31, 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, northern France, Matisse came from a textile family that had been in the business for over 300 years. Two years before his death, Matisse bequeathed the most prized works from his own collection to his hometown, establishing the core of the collection of Musée Matisse. He took care in choosing the pieces and designed the gallery spaces, down to the details of the display of each artwork. Musée Matisse could thus be regarded as a unique artistic legacy left behind by the artist, exemplifying most directly and intimately his artistic practice, creative processes, and ideas about art. After the recent sesquicentennial of Matisse’s birth, and owing the current closure, for renovation, of the Musée Matisse, this valuable collection now has the unique opportunity to make its way to China.


Titled “Matisse by Matisse,” the exhibition is organized into ten sections, following the chronology of Matisse’s life and career, and marked by his signature touches throughout. It includes his early copies of old masters and stylistic explorations as an art student; works representative of the artist’s turn towards fauvism; and later, in the 1920 and 1930s, his study of the human body and portraiture through mediums such as sculpture, sketches, and prints. Other sections show the inspiration and influence of his 1930 trip to Tahiti; an iconic series of colorful oil paintings and ink drawings from the 1940s; the cut-outs, book illustrations, and textile works of his later years; and the artifacts, sketches, and models from his work on the chapel at Vence when he was almost in his eighties. An additional section organized by the curatorial team at UCCA will discuss Matisse and Fauvism’s influence on the modern painting movement in China during the 1920s to 1940s.

UCCA Director and Chief Executive Philip Tinari notes, “With this rare exhibition, UCCA is honored to further expand its efforts to present key figures in twentieth-century art to audiences in China. We are particularly excited by the range of work on offer, and by the chance to present works so dear to the artist himself. We look forward to bringing this important exhibition to Beijing and Shanghai next year.”

“Matisse by Matisse” is curated by Patrice Deparpe, Director and Chief Curator, Musée Matisse Le Cateau-Cambrésis. It is presented in collaboration with UCCA, and with support from the art and culture agency Doors门艺.

About Musée Matisse Le Cateau-Cambrésis

Located in Henri Matisse’s hometown of Le Cateau-Cambrésis in northern France, Musée Matisse was founded by the artist and houses one of the most important collections of his works in the world. In 1952, Matisse bequeathed 82 of his works to the city of Le Cateau-Cambrésis and personally participated in the design of the exhibition galleries. The museum’s collection continued to enlarge after Matisse’s death, with a gift from French abstract painter Auguste Herbin in 1956, and another, of books and works by Modernist masters, from art publisher Alice Tériade’s in 2000. Musée Matisse originally opened in the Town Hall of Le Cateau-Cambrésis, moving in 1982 to the Fenélon Palace, built during the eighteenth century. The museum is currently undergoing renovation in preparation for a new expansion.

About the exhibition

Dates: 2022.3.26 - 2022.6.26

Venue: UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

Courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.