Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs

I did not know this facet of Matisse and I have admired, indeed! I took pleasure in contemplating these colorful “cut-outs”, whose forms suggest gardens, pools, dancers, stained glass… The first impression can be child-like, naive. However, take some time and look with the heart, you will then understand that every trait had been carefully thought, every color chosen with some purpose or intention… To me, those forms, those colors came from the soul and embody some rare beauty.


In “the pool” I understood that Matisse also felt the same passion for magic creatures of the oceans such as “ondines”, “mermaids”… He represented the fusion between the human and other human-like creatures.


In “the garden”, he is a visionary and a forefather of the environmental movement. Maybe after his trip to Tahiti he really dreamed of other ways of life, more simple, basic, even primitive, in communion with the nature.

* Some basic concepts from Moma exhibition


The cut-outs were created in distinct phases. The raw materials—paper and gouache—were purchased, and the two materials combined: studio assistants painted sheets of paper with gouache. Matisse then cut shapes from these painted papers and arranged them into compositions. For smaller compositions the artist worked directly on a board using pins. For larger compositions, Matisse directed his studio assistants to arrange them on the wall of his studio. Subsequently, cut-outs were mounted permanently, either in the studio or in Paris by professional mounters.

Matisse in front of gouache-painted papers, Hôtel Régina, Nice



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