Paper Cut-Outs


Since the invention of paper in China in the 1st century BCE, paper cut-outs have been utilized by a long line of craftsmen, folk artists, and fine artists. In Mexico, since the 19th century artisans have cut tissue paper into intricate figures and lacy designs for special occasions, called “papel picado.” The Fauvist Henri Matisse famously produced paper cut-outs during the last fourteen years of his life, describing the medium as “painting with scissors.” Contemporary artist Kara Walker also uses paper cut-outs for her massive wall installations evocative of 19th century “shadow portraits,” in which she explores African American racial stereotypes and identity.

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