In his late sixties, when ill health prevented Matisse from painting, he began to cut into painted paper with scissors to make drafts for a number of commissions. He wrote that it was “like being given a second life”. Soon, Matisse chose cut-outs over painting: he had invented a new medium. I’m not sure how fresh this looks in 2014, because this particular style of Matisse has been copied by graphic artists and illustrators, SO much as to render them nearly mute today. At the time the work was created, a young art student, Andrew Warhola, wanted to BE Matisse and Andy’s incredible color sense has been traced back to this desire. So, to see these snowflowers, dancers, circus scenes and a his famous abstracted snail (below), in this new exhibition at the Tate Modern will be a rare opportunity and a thrill. (I’ll be in London myself in mid-May, although I could have seen it when it travels to MoMA this fall, as well.) These 120 works, made between ’36 and ’54, have come from collections around the world to be seen together for first time since they were created over 60 years ago. Another first – the Tate is broadcasting live into cinemas around the UK with a film about the exhibition too and as they put it, you can also “shop the full product range” online here. Below is a BBC documentary on Matisse’s life and work. If you want to skip ahead to 35:00, you can see more about how the work was created and an interview with Francoise Gilot, Picasso’s lover, who describes seeing his process of the cut-outs first-hand.
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