Culture: Henri Matisse

Currently on at the Tate Modern on London’s South Bank, ‘Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs’ celebrates the modern art legend’s concluding body of work. In the final years of his career Matisse began ‘carving in colour’, creating the Cut-Outs collection.

Between 1936 and 1954, when ill health began to hinder Matisse’s painting, he embarked on a new technique, cutting up painted papers. From feminine forms to animals and flowers, Matisse developed a new medium, often completing these commissions on a huge scale – Large Composition with Masks is 10 metres long.

Evolving the cutting technique over the last 13 years of his life, Matisse would pin the shapes directly to the wall of his Vence studio, while some like Oceania, the Sky later adorned his Paris apartment. Seeing the texture of the carefully placed components alerts you to the contemplation that went in to each and every piece and position. More so, tiny pin pricks are evident, documenting the never-end quest for perfection in this startling compilation.

The exhibition itself feels alive with colour and joyous in tone, curators Nicholas Serota and Nicholas Cullinan have certainly succeeded in orchestrating a show that concludes such an exciting chapter in Matisse’s esteemed history. The scale of some of the works are staggering, with their high-density colour radiating throughout the halls. It’s no surprise that the Tate Modern has been enormously popular since Cut-Outs opened in April. Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs runs until 7th September, before moving to New York’s Museum of Modern Art.


About the Author

Based just outside London, Sarah-Leigh Bunting is a seasoned editor and marketer, having worked with some of the world's biggest fashion and interior brands and retailers. In 2012 Sarah-Leigh co-founded What Peggy Did Next (, an event and communications agency based in the UK. You can follow Sarah on... Instagram - @sarah_leigh_b Twitter - sarah_leigh_b Facebook -