Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at the Tate Modern


Spectacular, engaging and compelling, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is a definite must-see. Documenting the final working chapter of Matisse’s life, this exhibition brings together over 130 works, both influential and innovative, created from 1937 until his death in 1954. 

Centered around his vivid colour compositions, ranging from his inventive book covers to his experimentations with stained glass. The show also focuses on Matisse’s process, demonstrating throughout how he created and developed these works with his expert eye. Generating a sense of Matisse as a person, whilst giving the work a relatable feel. 

Matisse often used canvas board or a direct wall to pin the compositions, unable to move due to ill health he would direct his assistant Lydia Delectorskaya, or use his bamboo ‘wand’ for his large scale charcoal designs for a chapel interior. If you inspect the delicate paper works you can still see the minute pinholes from the placing process. 

Inspired by excursions over his life, it is also interesting to see that many of these works began from distinct memories and humble beginnings. Oceania for instance, which began with Matisse placing a swallow shape on his wall to cover a stain, later grew into a large scale piece inspired by his 1930 trip to Tahiti.

Mixed within the works is rare private archive footage of Matisse twisting, manipulating and cutting directly into colour, creating his abstract shapes routed in reality. 

This is the only time you can view this unmissable major collection of works in Europe, as due to the delicate nature of the pieces, it isn’t touring.  If you are unable to travel to London, for the first time Tate is planning to broadcast a walkthrough of the exhibition at 200 cinemas nationwide. 

Spectacular, engaging and compelling, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is a definite must-see, open now until 7th September 2014 - visit the Tate website here for more information.