The National Gallery has announced they’ve bought themselves an Henri Matisse:
The National Gallery of Australia today unveiled a major international acquisition; a stunning large scale work titled Oceania, the sea (1946) by Henri Matisse (1869–1954). The work was purchased with funds generously provided by National Gallery of Australia Council Member
Mr Timothy Fairfax AM.
The Gallery has sought to acquire Matisse’s Oceania, the sea for some time. The magnificent four metre canvas and silk screen work will now form a pair to the Gallery’s Oceania, the sky, acquired in 1990. The latter, as well as an additional fifty one works from the National Gallery of Australia’s Matisse holdings, is currently on loan to Matisse: Drawing Life at the Queensland Art Gallery.
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.
UPDATE 24/02/12 12:22: We’ve asked what the purchase price was and have received this reply from a spokesperson:
I’m sorry but we’re not releasing the purchase price.
UPDATE 24/02/12 13:44: Cybersleuth Skidbladnir has noted that Christie’s have the item listed for $4,790,172 in a sale from 21 June 2011.