Sunday, November 2, 2014
In 1941, Henri Matisse underwent a difficult surgery for abdominal cancer, following which he spent most of his time in a wheelchair or in bed, unable to paint as he had before. Matisse found a breakthrough method to channel his immense creativity: paint-washing sheets of paper, cutting shapes with scissors and pinning–eventually gluing–the cut-outs together to form a composition. "Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs" at the Museum of Modern Art makes clear that the French master triumphed artistically in the final years of his life until his death at 84 in 1954. Matisse said that he was "painting with scissors" and that "Only what I created after the illness constitutes my real self: free, liberated." Indeed, he carrie forward his vibrant colors and appealing lines and shapes into a bold new artistic medium. "Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs" is a must-see aesthetic delight.
"Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs" continues through February 8 at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY, (212) 708-9400, www.moma.org.
Above: The Horse, the Rider, and the Clown (Le Cheval, l’écuyère et le clown),
1943, and Icarus (Icare), 1943?–44.
See also my review of "Matisse: In Search Of True Painting" At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, January 2, 2013.