Sharp: Matisse’s Cut-Outs

By Jo Phillips

In 1941 Henri Matisse was diagnosed with cancer, and because of subsequent surgeries was confined to a wheelchair. In the years that followed – the last 14 of his life – Matisse experienced a new found creative energy, something he referred to as his “une seconde vie”; a second life. Of this he is known to have said “Only what I created after the illness constitutes my real self: free, liberated.” He began creating the pieces that are now known as ‘cut-outs’; pieces that are to be displayed at the Tate Modern’s next blockbuster exhibition from April 17. He produced these vast paper collages, or gouaches découpés, by cutting bold shapes from prepared paper with scissors. Pieces including those from his famous ‘blue nudes’ series, The Sheaf (1953), and, from the Tate’s permanent collection, The Snail (1953), will be seen together for the first time in London.

A tip for a less crowded viewing experience, try booking a slot on Sunday evenings here: Matisse Sunday Lates


Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
Tate Modern: Exhibition
17 April – 7 September 2014
Adult: £18 (£16.30 without donation)
Concession: £16 (£14.50 without donation)
Under 12s go free

Henri Matisse (1869 -1964)
Blue Nude (I) 1952
Gouache painted paper cut-outs on paper on canvas
 106.30 x 78.00cm
Foundation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
Digital image: Robert Bayer, Basel
Artwork: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014

Henri Matisse (1869 -1964)
The Snail 1953
Gouache on paper, cut and pasted on paper mounted to canvas
Digital image: © Tate Photography
Artwork: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014


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