Matisse - Oceanie, la mer

Henri Matisse
Oceanie, la mer (Oceania the sea)
© Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

NGA Australia acquires Matisse's 'Oceania, the sea'

The large canvas and silk screen work by Henri Matisse (1869–1954) now form a pair to 'Oceania, the sky', acquired by the Gallery in 1990.

February 25, 2012, source: National Gallery of Australia

"We are thrilled to have acquired Oceania, the sea, a superb companion piece to our much admired Oceania, the sky", said Gallery director Ron Radford. "Not only is the work a superb addition to the gallery's collection of modern art, Oceania, the sea also relates to the broader collection, particularly its strong holdings of South East Asian textiles and Pacific Art".

Both "Oceania, the sea" and "Oceania, the sky" were based on a cut-out paper maquette, produced by Matisse, and were inspired by the artist’s memory of a trip to Tahiti in the 1930s. "Oceania, the sea" comprises numerous cut-out motifs of fish, other sea creatures and plants, floating on a golden surface.

The NGA Australia explained in a press release that the Gallery has sought to acquire Matisse’s Oceania, the sea for some time. Interestingly, the work was sold last year at Christie's New York for $4,8 million. The purchasing price was not disclosed in the Gallery's press release.

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