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Friday, July 21, 2017


(Professor Federico Freschi. Pic by Val Adamson)

Professor Federico Freschi will be giving a presentation on curating the first Matisse exhibition in South Africa at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg on July 27.

Freschi, the executive dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, worked with Patrice Deparpe, director of the Musée Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis (Matisse’s birthplace in the North of France) on the exhibition of the French modernist’s work, which ran at the Standard Bank Gallery from July to September last year.

Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning was the first wide-ranging exhibition of Matisse’s work to be held in South Africa, and the fourth exhibition of important 20th century modernists to be held at the Johannesburg gallery. The others were monographic exhibitions focusing on the work of Marc Chagall, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. 

In his lecture, which will take place at 11h30, Freschi will provide some context and background to the exhibition, introduce the works that were displayed by linking these to events in the artist’s life, and give some insight into the challenges and opportunities of hosting an exhibition of this nature in South Africa.

“It is difficult to overstate Matisse’s significance as a master of 20th century modernism,” says Freschi. “The artist’s inventive use of form and colour in the early years of the 20th century profoundly and irrevocably altered the course of modern art, while the paper cut-outs he produced at the end of his life revolutionized concepts of scale and medium. 

“Of particular interest to South African audiences is the inspiration he took from African and other non-Western art forms during the early 1900s while struggling to find a new visual language to express the particular experience of the new, modern age,” he adds.

Booking for the lecture is essential as space is limited - email or phone 033 392 2819.

A limited number of copies of the 206-page, fully illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning, will be on sale at the lecture at R300 per copy. To purchase a copy, email Kobie Venter in advance of the lecture.

On July 28 at 14h30, Freschi will host a walkabout of the South African Landscape exhibition in the Lorna Ferguson Room at the Tatham. For more information phone 033 392 2819.

The Tatham Art Gallery is situated opposite the Town Hall in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h00 to 17h00. Café Tatham is open on Saturdays. Safe parking with a car guard available. More information on 033 392 2801 or visit