Paper Cut Outs

Paper Cut Outs

Perhaps one needs to be mad to even consider visiting a potential block buster art show at the Tate modern on a bank holiday. Easter Monday being the designated day we decided to arrive for the opening at 10am. Even at this time the queues were phenomenal. To give the Tate it’s due, the queue moved fast and even with the large numbers of people you could see all the exhibits. This exhibition covers the last fifteen years of Henri Matisse’s life, when his health was deteriorating and no longer able to paint and sculpt Matisse worked in cut and torn paper. Health problems in the early 1940’s limited his mobility, but as his strength declined the ambition and the scale of his cut outs increased.


Before embracing  cut outs as an art form in its own write Matisse had used this as a method of creating composition in his painting. Many of the pieces of paper in this exhibition are covered in pin holes where they have been placed and then repositioned until the artist was happy with his creation.3

By the end of his life Matisse was aided by studio assistants, and he would conduct  them as a stage manager would, telling them where to place each piece of paper until he was happy with the final competition. 4

The exhibition is well curated and a joy to visit. In our now oh so colourful world it is all too easy to forget how extraordinary Matisse’s work  must have appeared, when it was first on show.5

‘ by creating these coloured paper cut-outs, it seems , to me that I am happily anticipating things to come. I don’t think that I have ever found such balance as I have in creating these paper cut-outs. But I know that it will only be much later that people will realise to what extent the work I am doing today is in step with the future’- Matisse    6

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