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The Henri Matisse Cut – Outs Exhibition at the Tate Modern which begins on April 17th brings together an extraordinary 120 works of one of the most influential artists of Modern Art which cover the period between 1936 and 1954.
This landmark show explores the period of Matisse’s life that ill heath prevents him from painting, so he develops his ‘painting with scissors’ technique.
With the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, called gouaches découpés. The exhibition explores how the technique began on small commissions and developed into larger works.
The exhibition represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see so many of the artist’s works in one place, Tate’s The Snail 1953 is shown alongside its sister work Memory of Oceania 1953 and Large Decoration with Masks 1953 .
Matisse’s famous series of Blue Nudes are bought together to illustrate the artist’s renewed interest in the figure.
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.
Visiting London Guide Review
An intriguing aspect of this exhibition is that with so many pieces of Art it is possible to see the development of his ‘painting with scissors’ technique from rather modest beginnings in the first few rooms to larger and more developed pieces.
The iconic Blue nudes are the largest number ever exhibited together in Room 9 with the added attraction of some reclining nudes sculptures.
One of the largest Matisse Cut Outs, The Parakeet and the Mermaid 1952 in Room 10 shows how an increasingly home confined Matisse brings nature into his studio with vibrant colour.
Large scale compositions follow including the famous The Snail, Large decorations with Masks, Memory of Oceania, Ivy in Flower and The Sheaf.
The last room is fittingly is Nuit de Noel a stain glass window commissioned by Life magazine.
Walking around the exhibition it slowly dawns on you that Matisse in a stage of his life when ill health severely impairs his painting and with the spectre of death maybe on the horizon rather than drowning in depression goes in completely the opposite direction by celebrating life in all its shapes and forms.
It is often said that many of the works are almost childlike in their simplicity, this is an important part of their appeal because Matisse celebrates the joy of creativity often found in children who paint and create without preconceptions. For this reason the exhibition would be one that children would enjoy.
This is without doubt a major exhibition and likely to be very popular with admirers of Matisse and with a wider public who can relate to the naturalistic symbolism and extraordinary sense of colour.
If you are visiting London over the summer this is an exhibition not to be missed.
Visiting London Guide – Highly Recommended
Adult £18.00 (without donation £16.30)
Concession £16.00 (without donation £14.50)
Additional booking fee of £1.75 (£2 via telephone) per transaction applies
Under 12s go free (up to four per parent or guardian)
Tate Modern Opening Times
Sunday – Thursday, 10.00–18.00
Friday and Saturday, 10.00–22.00
To Book Tickets visit the Tate Modern Website here