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Masterpieces from Centre Pompidou on show at Museum of Art tomorrow

Fifty-eight invaluable masterpieces selected from the Centre Pompidou in France will be on show at the Hong Kong Museum of Art from tomorrow (September 30) to December 3.

The exhibition, "Artists and Their Models - Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris", features works by 51 great artists including Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Brancusi, Soutine, Modigliani, Dubuffet, Bacon, Balthus, Adami, and Raysse Martial.

The exhibition is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the Centre Pompidou, Paris in collaboration with the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and is co-organised by the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. It is sponsored by HSBC, Bel-Air and the Friends of the Hong Kong Museum of Art with publicity support from the South China Morning Post.

The exhibition was officially opened today (September 29). Officiating guests included the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho Chi-ping, the Deputy Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Mr Christian Ramage, the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow, the Director of the Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Mr Alfred Pacquement, the Adviser on International Relations of the President's Office, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Ms Kara Lennon, the Curator of the Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Ms Angela Lampe, the Executive Director of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Mr Peter Wong, the Executive Director of the Pacific Century Premium Developments Limited, Ms Wendy Gan, and the Chairman of the Friends of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Mrs Nancy Lee.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Ho Chi-ping, noted that the Centre Pompidou, Paris, was a renowned cultural and arts venue that had one of the world's richest collections of modern art treasures.

"For many art lovers in this part of the world, however, the Centre being in Paris, France, is not particularly accessible. Our thanks to the Centre Pompidou and the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong for bringing the masterpieces on display to Hong Kong at the Museum of Art.

"Centred around an interesting theme - the relationship between artists and their models, all the exhibits are representative works of painting, sculpture and installation art by great masters of the 20th century and beyond.

"Over one third of the works are on display here in Asia for the very first time, and the Hong Kong Museum of Art is the only host venue. It is therefore a great honour indeed for us in Hong Kong, Asia's world city, to present this exhibition, which promises to be yet another popular blockbuster that will contribute significantly to enriching our city life and promoting cultural diversity," Dr Ho said.

Most of the artworks featured in the exhibition are portrait paintings. Portraiture holds an important position in the history of art. The relationship between the artist's model and the final work of art has always been very delicate. Models might be anonymous professionals, the artist's relatives or friends, or famous writers or art patrons; sometimes, the model might be the artist himself. Very often, however, their identities and roles can have a significant impact on the artist's interpretation and treatment of his work. Always, and more interestingly, models reveal some untold story of both the subject and the artist.

Painter Henri Matisse said, "For others, a model is information. For my part, a model is captivating."

The exhibition is divided into five sections, namely Muses, Distortions, Visions, Friends and Pastiches. These outstanding portraits not only demonstrate the diverse creativity with which figures have always been treated, they also provide a comprehensive overview of the various important movements in the history of Western art: from the multifaceted nature of cubism and futurism to the emotive nature of expressionism and from the indistinctness of surrealism to the mix-and-match installations of pop art.

A number of measures will be introduced to allow more people the chance to see the exhibition. These include extending daily opening hours to 8pm. The museum will accept pre-bookings for visits by school groups and non-profit-making organisations on Thursdays, when it is normally closed.

To enhance viewers' appreciation of the exhibition, an education gallery will be set up with introductory text and interesting activities to illustrate how models inspire artistic creation. Audio guides, free public guided tours, special lectures, video programmes, demonstrations and workshops, an exhibition web-kit, worksheets and on-site education kits and painting activities will also be available during the exhibition period. The Arts Resource Centre of the Hong Kong Central Library will run a book display, "Artists and Their Models", from Sunday (October 1) to November 30.

A fully illustrated catalogue and a booklet will be on sale at the Gift Shop of the Museum of Art.

"Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris" exhibition will open from 10am to 8pm daily and be closed on Thursdays, except public holidays. Due to the National Day Fireworks Display, it will close at 6pm on Sunday. Admission for this exhibition will be $40. A half-price concession is available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, full-time students and people with disabilities. "Free Admission on Wednesdays" and the LCSD Weekly Pass are not applicable to this exhibition.

The Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For details of the exhibition, visit the Museum of Art's website at For enquiries, call 2721 0116.

Ends/Friday, September 29, 2006
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