Monday, December 8, 2014

The Joyous Matisse Cut-Outs Exhibition and Catalogue

The Sheaf
TD and I recently ordered timed tickets online and went to the beautiful and extraordinary Matisse exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Henri Matisse is one of my all time favorite artists. I love the colors and simplicity and joy in his paintings. For the last years of his life, due to nearly fatal abdominal cancer, Matisse was disabled and confined to a bed or chair, so he could not physically paint. But he devised another medium for his artistry. From his bed or chair, he cut out pieces of paper which had been painted in colors to his specifications. Then he directed assistants how to arrange the pieces on the wall with pins. The resulting colorful cut-outs stand as some of the great artworks of the twentieth century.
Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.
No photography is allowed in the MOMA exhibit but I will say it is one of the most amazing shows I have seen. Matisse himself combined many cut-out art works together on the walls of his studio, and the arrangements are reproduced on the walls of the museum so there is an explosion of color everywhere you look.

The Parrot and the Mermaid
Matisse's great genius was his simplicity. Using a few colors like those out of a child's small crayon box and the most basic shapes and forms, he creates compositions that moved me emotionally, they were so beautiful. Even though they are simple, they have great power and great joy.

Memory of Oceania
As Matisse worked in the medium, the art works got even bigger and even simpler.

The Snail
It's a generous show that goes on and on - there are about 100 artworks. What a great pleasure it was to see. At the end, we bought the exhibition catalogue

which wonderfully reproduces the cut-outs.

As I mentioned, the exhibit demonstrates how the artist hung his work in his home and was surrounded by it daily. These photographs show how Matisse covered his walls with his artwork. A nice way to live!

Here is Monsieur sitting in bed, in a tie, cutting out colored paper. Even the bed base board is shaped like a cut-out.

Here is the artist in a wheel chair surrounded by a rainbow of colored paper pieces. I like his turquoise cardigan.

This show is up through February 8, and the museum has tours and programs planned around it. Honestly, if you're in New York, don't miss this achievement.


Dean Farris said...


How inspiring! Thanks for sharing!


Bart Boehlert said...

Thank you Dean - great show!