Behind the scenes: Matisse ‘The Drawing Room’ 2011


Inspired by the studio interiors and the subject matter used by Henri Matisse throughout his artistic career, GOMA’s iconic Long Gallery has been transformed into an interactive drawing studio and lounge that offers Gallery visitor’s an invitation to create their own art work.

The space is broken into series of staged ‘thematic’ tableaux whose content has been drawn from the life and times of Matisse. From Moroccan patterned screens and fabrics to authentic antique French provincial furniture and decorative arts objects, the content in ‘The Drawing Room’ has been carefully sourced and selected over many months to ensure that the final experience is one of authenticity and visual richness.

The following series of images documents the construction and set-up processes undertaken to create this rich and vibrant space.

‘The Drawing Room’ walls took approximately 2 weeks to frame up, sheet and paint. This image shows the Gallery’s on-site workshop team framing up wall partitions.

The Drawing Room complete prior to opening.

Extremely heavy, yet fragile, the 19th century marble sculpture Lucretia by Giacomo Ginotti (Italy 1837-1897) was moved into place with the use of a forklift and careful hands. Gift of Mr Justice Adrian Clark and Mrs Fitzmaurice Stacke 1933. Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Merging new technology with the timeless concept of the sketch pad, integrated electronic drawing tablets have been cabled throughout the joinery. Visitors can make a drawing and share it by email, Facebook or Twitter. The antique still life content for ‘The Studio’ themed display has been sourced from local and interstate antique vendors.

The Gallery worked with a local aquarium supplier to provide live goldfish for drawing subject matter. Spectacular coral and shell specimens were loaned from the Queensland Museum for the ‘Oceania’ Themed Display.

Inspired to draw. Between 12.30 – 2.30pm we have live music daily & costumed models every Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday from 11.30am – 1.30pm. ‘The Drawing Room‘ at ‘Matisse: Drawing Life‘ only at GOMA until 4 March 2012.


  1. The drawing room is fabulous, I was there today and there were children and adults drawing, having a go – just a great atmosphere. Very well done guys! A real feeling of life and creativity and inspiration.

  2. My wife visited the gallery and would like to know the name of the painting application used on the tablet computers. Does anyone know:-) Thanks.

  3. Fantastic exhibition! The Drawing Room one of the most innovative spaces ever created. Wonderful to see so many people inspired to draw, and in doing so, understanding the complexities first hand, of drawing in simplified line. Matisse took a lifetime to master that sublety. Fabulous job!! We are so luckly to have this creative team at GoMA!!

  4. Hi Brad. Thanks for your interest. The flash based multimedia drawing interactive currently in the Matisse Drawing Room was created especially for our exhibition and is only available to access at the Gallery. An online version however is available on our website at If you are interested and you have an iPhone or iPad, there is an app called Zen Brush and Zen Brush Art Book that has similar features.