MOMA hails Henri Matisse with 'Cut-Outs' exhibition

Wed Oct 8, 2014 4:18pm EDT
 
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blue figures swim around walls, dancers prance in a circle and flowers sprout on a huge canvas in an exhibition of the cut-out works of French artist Henri Matisse that opens next week.

The show, "Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs," which runs from Oct. 12 through Feb. 8 at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), includes 100 works from private and public collections, drawings, textiles and stained glass from the final years of the renowned artist, who died in 1954 aged 84.

"It is the most extensive exhibition of this period of Matisse's work ever mounted," said Jodi Hauptman, a curator of the show, which was organized in collaborations with the Tate Modern in London.

Matisse was already famous for his vivid paintings when he began to draw with scissors, cutting colored and painted paper into various shapes, then mounting and pinning them on paper, canvas and the walls of his studio.

"He is at the end of his life but he is still inventing something new," said Hauptman, "and not accepting what he had always done."

The exhibition follows Matisse as he begins with small works of dancers twirling and leaping and figures in bright colors, using paper which was more expedient and less labor intensive than paint.

It follows with Jazz, a series of works for a project for publisher Teriade, and continues with larger works such as "The Thousand and One Nights," which depicts the story of fictional Queen Scheherazade from the Arabian Nights, and his four "Blue Nude" studies of the female form.

"He began using paper to kind of form his compositions and at this point it is helping him do what he needs to do," Hauptman explained. "After he started working on Jazz he sees that he has invented this new thing that he calls a cut-out operation."   Continued...

 
An employee poses with Henri Matisse's artworks at the Tate Modern gallery in London in this April 14, 2014 file photo.REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files