The Nord administration – the owner of The Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambresis, northern France – announced on Feb. 25 2022 to suspend the exhibitions of paintings by French artist Henry Matisse in Beijing and Shanghai. The decision came “in the context of the geopolitical crisis triggered by Russia’s declaration of war on Ukraine and political ties between Beijing and Moscow.”
The administration also announced that all connections with Chinese museums will be suspended till further notice.
280 works by painter Henri Matisse, worth 300 million euros, were initially scheduled to be shipped to China in early March. They would be exhibited in Beijing and Shanghai for several months. UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing is the venue for this exhibition.
Christian Poiret, president of Departmental Council of Nord, said in a press release that given the value of the artwork and the “geopolitical climate, and the proximity between China and Russia,” he could not take the risk.
He wrote on Twitter that he strongly condemned Russia’s declaration of war on Ukraine. He urged Europe to save the Ukrainian people, defend democracy and oppose totalitarianism.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been strongly opposed by democratic countries, which have put many sanctions on Moscow. Several international sports and cultural organizations have also begun boycotting Russia, preventing this country from participating in or holding such events.