We are delighted to present a selection of prints from 'The Last Works of Henri Matisse'.
These ten lithographs are part of the original folios printed in Paris in 1954 by the renowned Mourlot Press. Published by Tériade, these equisite images were produced after Matisse's original large scale "cut outs", created in the later stages of the artist's career.
Matisse initially used paper cut-outs to plot the design of works in other materials. Arranging and re-arranging small forms cut from sheets of paper, he could plan effects of composition, color, and contrast before working on canvas. In early experiments with this method, he employed cut-outs to visualize the stage sets he was designing for theatre and ballet productions. In the 1930s paper cut-outs assisted him in creating still-life paintings and in finalizing his design for a painted mural at the Barnes Foundation museum in Pennsylvania.
Matisse initially kept his cut-out technique a secret. In 1943, however, he began to work on 'Jazz', an illustrated book of cut-out designs. 'Jazz' was eventually published in 1947. Its main theme was the circus, and its pages reproduced Matisse’s lively paper acrobats, clowns and animals. However, there were also hints of wartime violence in the illustrations’ exploding starbursts and falling bodies.
Coping with the difficulties of old age and illness in the years following World War II, Matisse nonetheless produced some of the most vibrant and dynamic works of his career. He lived and worked in southern France, in studios in Venice and Nice. He described the cut-out technique as “Drawing with scissors” and working with paper turned out to be an ideal solution to allow his work to flourish his limited range of movement.
2nd May - 4th June 2016