Henri Matisse: Paper Cut-Outs

Blue nudes, red hearts, and multicolored flowers fill Henri Matisse’s paper cut-outs—the technique that fascinated the artist for the final decade of his career. With paper cut-outs, Matisse was able to draw with scissors, creating striking compositions (some as large as 25 feet long) from his bed or wheelchair, after a 1941 surgery left the artist largely disabled. While some dismissed Matisse’s experimentation with paper cut-outs as his second childhood, others quickly recognized the medium as cutting-edge—a swift way of capturing the modern essentials of line, form, and color. “It was pure joy to be able in 10 minutes to do something that was of now, now, now,” remembers artist Françoise Gilot, who often visited Matisse’s studio with her boyfriend Pablo Picasso. In 2014, an exhibition of Matisse’s …

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