In the final decade of his life Henri Matisse worked with painted paper as his primary medium and scissors as his chief implement, inventing a new form of art that came to be called a cut-out.  Matisse cut painted sheets into various shapes – from the organic to the geometric – which he then arranged into lively compositions, striking for their play with color and contrast, their deployment of decorative strategies and their economy of means.  Initially, these compositions were of modest size, but over time their scale grew along with Matisse’s ambitions for them, expanding across the walls of his studio, which became a luminous garden.  Jodi Hauptman explores this brilliant final chapter in Matisse’s long career, looking closely at the artist’s methods and materials, the role and function of the cut-outs in his practice, and their environmental aspects.  

Jodi Hauptman, senior curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art


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Presented with the support of Scott and Isabelle Black.