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Form and Color Meet in Matisse’s Joyous Cutouts

originally posted on: Los Angeles Times by Barbara Isenberg
October 11, 2014

At the end of World War II, when Europe was recovering from the onslaught, the great French artist Henri Matisse was recovering from personal battles. Matisse, then in his 70s, had endured not just the war but also two surgeries and an infection that had left him hardly able to stand, much less paint.

Although confined largely to bed or a wheelchair, Matisse did not stop creating art. Rather, he used what he considered his “second life” to essentially invent a new art form. Aided by dedicated assistants and his own limitless imagination, the artist was cutting paper rather than painting it. Describing his work as “drawing with scissors,” Matisse spent much of his remaining years perfecting the craft of the cutout.

About 100 of Matisse’s colorful cutouts are in a landmark exhibition opening Oct. 12 at the Museum of Modern Art and running through Feb. 8. At London’s Tate Modern, where it made its debut this year, “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” was the most popular exhibition in the Tate museums’ history. It is the most extensive show of the artworks ever mounted and the first in-depth look at the cutouts here since 1961.

Organized by MoMA in collaboration with the Tate, the exhibition augments Matisse’s joyous forms with related drawings, illustrated books and designs for the stained glass windows, walls and priests’ vestments at the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, France, which the artist considered his masterpiece.

Click here to view more photos and read more at Los Angeles Times

Photo: Lydia Delectorskaya and Henri Matisse at the Hotel Regina, Nice, c. 1952. (@Archives H. Matisse / Museum of Modern Art)

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