Drawing with scissors
Carving into color, creating bright, bold paper cut-outs.
Towards the end of his monumental career as a painter, sculptor, and lithographer, an elderly, sickly Matisse was unable to stand and use a paintbrush for a longer period of time. In this late phase of his life--he was almost 80 years of age--he developed the technique of 'carving into color', creating bright, bold paper cut-outs. Though dismissed by some contemporary critics as the folly of a senile old man, these gouaches decoupees (gouache cut-outs) in fact represented a revolution in modern art, a whole new medium that re-imagined the age-old conflict between color and line.
This fresh, standard TASCHEN edition of an original prize-winning XL volume provides a thorough historical context to Matisse's cut-outs, tracing their roots in his 1930 trip to Tahiti, through to his final years in Nice. It includes many photos of Matisse, some rare color images, by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassai, and the filmmaker Murnau and text from Matisse, Picasso, publisher E. Teriade, the poets Louis Aragon, Henri Michaux, and Pierre Reverdy, and Matisse's son-in-law, Georges Duthuit. In their deceptive simplicity, the cut-outs achieved both a sculptural quality and an early minimalist abstraction which would profoundly influence generations of artists to come. Exuberant, multi-hued, and often grand in scale, these works are true pillars of 20th century art, and as bold and innovative to behold today as they were in Matisse's lifetime.