This major show is the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to Henri Matisse’s paper cut-outs made between 1937 and 1954, and represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see so many of the artist’s works in one place and discover Matisse’s final artistic triumph.
During the last fifteen years of his life, Henri Matisse developed his final artistic triumph by "cutting into colour." The drama, scale, and innovation of Matisse's rare and fragile papiers coupes (paper cut-outs) remain without precedent or parallel. His technique involved the freehand cutting of coloured papers into beautiful shapes, which he then pinned loosely to the white studio walls, later adjusting, recutting, combining, and recombining them to his satisfaction. The result created an environment that transcended the boundaries of conventional painting, drawing, and sculpture. Later, the shapes were glued to large white paper backgrounds for shipping or display.
The exhibition, which opened on 17 April at the Tate Modern, brings together around 130 works, many seen together for the first time, in a groundbreaking reassessment of Matisse’s colourful and innovative final works. Four years in the planning, this stage of the artist's career has never been examined in such detail before, owing not just to the dispersion of the works into international collections, but also due to their fragility. As such, it is unlikely that such an exhibition will be forthcoming again for some time.
London is first to host, before the exhibition travels to New York at the Museum of Modern Art and after which the works return to galleries and private owners around the world.
Matisse: The Cut Outs
Tate Modern, London: 17th April – 7th September
Museum of Modern Art, New York: 25th October – 8th February