Henri Matisse: Cut-outs, Drawing With Scissors

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Drawing with scissors: The revolutionary late-period work by Matisse

Towards the end of his monumental career as a painter, sculptor, and lithographer, an elderly, sickly Matisse was unable to stand and use a paintbrush for a longer period of time. In this late phase of his life—he was almost 80 years of age—he developed the technique of ‘carving into color’, creating bright, bold paper cut-outs. Though dismissed by some contemporary critics as the folly of a senile old man, these gouaches decoupées (gouache cut-outs) in fact represented a revolution in modern art, a whole new medium that re-imagined the age-old conflict between color and line.

This fresh, standard Taschen edition of our original prize-winning XL volume provides a thorough historical context to Matisse’s cut-outs, tracing their roots in his 1930 trip to Tahiti, through to his final years in Nice. It includes many photos of Matisse, some rare color images, by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaď, and the filmmaker Murnau and text from Matisse, Picasso, publisher E. Tériade, the poets Louis Aragon, Henri Michaux, and Pierre Reverdy, and Matisse’s son-in-law, Georges Duthuit.

In their deceptive simplicity, the cut-outs achieved both a sculptural quality and an early minimalist abstraction which would profoundly influence generations of artists to come. Exuberant, multi-hued, and often grand in scale, these works are true pillars of 20th century art, and as bold and innovative to behold today as they were in Matisse’s lifetime.

Details
•  Hardcover, 334 pages.
•  11.5 x 1.5 x 15 inches