Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs

“What I want is an art of balance, of purity, an art that won’t disturb or trouble people. I want anyone tired, worn down, driven to the limits of endurance, to find calm and repose in my painting,” said French painter Henri Matisse: (quoted in Matisse the Master by Hilary Spurling). From 17 April to 7 September 2014, Tate Modern will host an exhibit called Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. It’s devoted to the artist’s work with paper.

In his late sixties, Matisse began experimenting with painted paper, and by creating bold patterns and shapes, he turned cut outs into an art form. The pieces are fragile, and the exhibit is a rare chance to see these works. After London, the exhibit will travel to New York where the Museum of Modern Art will feature the collection.
Tate Modern: Exhibition
17 April – 7 September 2014

Adult £18.00 (without donation £16.30)
Concession £16.00 (without donation £14.50)

For more information, please visit Tate Modern’s website.

Henri Matisse. The Sheaf 1953.Collection University of California, Los Angeles. Hammer Museum



  • Sandra: Oooo! Will look for this at MOMA April 29, 2014 at 7:42am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s going to be such a treat to see all of these pieces in one place! April 29, 2014 at 9:32am Reply

  • Jillie: I find Matisse’s work fascinating, and was intrigued to see an article in the Sunday Times magazine with photos of him making these cutouts. I learnt from this that he was in a wheelchair for the latter part of his life, and it is lovely to see that he is pictured with an adorable tabby cat companion at his feet in bed! April 29, 2014 at 7:43am Reply

    • Victoria: I do too, and I love how he used colors and shapes. There is something extraordinary about his work. I read a book about him, the one I quoted in the post, and if you’re interested in Matisse, I can’t recommend it highly enough. April 29, 2014 at 10:21am Reply

      • Jillie: Thank you for the recommendation! I am sure that I will enjoy this.

        It will be interesting to learn more about Matisse – I suspect that he was a good, kind human being, unlike Dali who was horrifically cruel to cats ….. April 29, 2014 at 11:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Dali was an odd character, to put it mildly! April 29, 2014 at 2:15pm Reply

        • Mel: Dali was cruel to cats?!? This changes everything! I adore cats. I have three rescues. April 29, 2014 at 4:44pm Reply

          • Jillie: You really wouldn’t like Dali if you knew what he did. So sorry! My two are rescues too! April 30, 2014 at 3:16am Reply

  • George: With this, the Gaultier exhibition, and Kate Bush playing live in August, I think I’m guaranteed at least three great cultural experiences this summer, in London!

    Funnily enough, I associated perfume with the matisse exhibition when I saw this particular cut-out online http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303626804579507541351469448#18
    I think it reminds me of one of those visual representations of his scents that Malle did a while ago- maybe that of Musc Ravageur- but I can’t find it online (I also realise- of course- that “violet leaf” is also an ingredient). It also very much represents the opening of MR for myself I have to add. April 29, 2014 at 11:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Maybe, it was Dans Tes Bras? The moment I saw that cut out, I also was reminded of something Malle did. Or maybe, it was a limited edition design for the packaging of Une Rose/Lipstick Rose. April 29, 2014 at 11:17am Reply

      • George: I found both the Barney’s visual representations and the Liberty print representations, and the Matisse cut-out looks absolutely NOTHING like any of them. I was SO wrong. But something about that particular cut-out still says “perfume” to me. April 29, 2014 at 6:33pm Reply

        • Victoria: Perhaps, it’s just the feel, because before I even read your comment, I made the same association. April 30, 2014 at 2:50pm Reply

  • Nikki: I just saw a wonderful movie where Matisse was mentioned: The Artist and the Model, a gorgeous movie set in the Pyrenees during WW2. it is a real treat to watch… April 29, 2014 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Jotting it down in my notebook. Thank you very much, Nikki. April 29, 2014 at 2:21pm Reply

  • Karen: Saw the cut outs back in the 70’s at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Rooms and walls filled with them – so joyful and uplifting! April 29, 2014 at 3:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve seen only some at various exhibits, but even few works were impressive, and as you say, uplifting. You can’t help smiling afterward. April 29, 2014 at 4:15pm Reply

  • Di: I some Matisse cut outs at exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute on early 20th century abstraction. (by famous painters) several years ago. I then went to the basement where they had an exhibit of 19th Century and early 20th century American Quilts. It struck me that the quilts similarly worked with color and pattern (a two and a three dimensional pattern) as the Matisses and I thought the quilts were actually more sophisticated. April 29, 2014 at 4:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: Quilting is really such an art form. My great grandmother used to do it, and watching her put together an intricate patter out of what looked like random bits of fabric was fascinating. Matisse was inspired very much by the textiles in much of his art, so I find your comparison very interesting. April 29, 2014 at 4:18pm Reply

      • Karen: Yes to quilts! There was a movie, Anonymous Was A Woman – maybe in the 70’s (?), that explored various ways women expressed their artistic vision, through things like quilts, needlework and other objects that weren’t signed. Wonder if the movie can be found! April 29, 2014 at 5:29pm Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t seen that movie, but it sounds far more interesting than the film with Winona Ryder, “How to Make an American Quilt”! April 30, 2014 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Maren: I think I remember reading that he began working with the cutouts after he became confined to a wheelchair. It’s interesting that a disability became the genesis for such energizing and joyful work. I’ve also read some of his correspondence with the painter Bonnard, and many are so very poignant and caring exchanges between two like minded artists. Would have been in awe to meet either one of them, but instead will visit their with their paintings whenever I can. Just so happens there is an exhibit of Matisse in Minneapolis that I am going to this weekend. Hmmm now what perfume to wear that fits the mood of his work?! April 29, 2014 at 10:49pm Reply

    • Karen: That is a fun thought! What perfumes evoke (or do you associate with) an artist or painting, or genre! April 30, 2014 at 5:11am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s incredible how some people can channel their creativity despite limitations. I have an uncle who’s been struggling with the consequences of polio ever since he was a child (he’s now close to 80). And today he continues to study new things–Photoshop, yoga practices, new computer programs, etc. In his spare time he repairs broken electronics. And that’s a guy who trained as an economist! I hope that my mind will be as sharp and my spirit as strong as his.

      Enjoy the exhibit! If I could take a pick, I’d go with something bright for Matisse. Perhaps, a perfume that smells intensely green like Chanel No 19 or rich like Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger. Something that has a similar verve as his work. April 30, 2014 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Ashley Anstaett: Thanks for sharing this, Victoria! I have never seen these, but I’m happy I have now because they are so joyful. April 30, 2014 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Happy to share a bit of beauty! 🙂

      If you google more of them, you can see what a great genre he invented. Some of the cut-outs are big and bold, and others, like the one George linked to, are delicate. April 30, 2014 at 2:52pm Reply

  • Nicola: I am going to see this with my Mum at the end of May, here in London, and am so looking forward to it. Last October we spent a few days in Nice and went to the Matisse museum. There was so much there right from his early years as an artist up to and including some of the cut outs and textiles. Such a joy. Then we went to see the Chapelle de Rosaire de Vence! Even more joy. May 2, 2014 at 9:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Gosh, that’s a great art itinerary, Nicola! I spent some time in Nice for work, and next time I will be sure to visit the Matisse museum. May 2, 2014 at 9:48am Reply

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