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Exhibition at MOMA features works from Henri Matisse's late years

CCTV.com

10-18-2014 19:16 BJT

Henri Matisse's late series of colorful cut-outs is the subject of a new show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. When the exhibition was shown in London earlier this year, it drew more than 560,000 people during its nearly five-month run at the Tate Modern, making it the museum's most popular show ever. 

Blue figures swim around walls, and flowers sprout on a huge canvas at this exhibition of cut-out works by French artist Henri Matisse.

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse's late series of colorful cut-outs is the subject of a new show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Blue figures swim around walls, and flowers sprout on a huge canvas at this exhibition of cut-out works by French artist Henri Matisse.

Blue figures swim around walls, and flowers sprout on a huge canvas at this exhibition of cut-out works by French artist Henri Matisse.

The show, "Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs," which runs from October through next February at the Museum of Modern Art, includes 100 works from private and public collections.

The show, "Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs," which runs from October through next February at the Museum of Modern Art, includes 100 works from private and public collections.

 When the exhibition was shown in London earlier this year, it drew more than 560,000 people during its nearly five-month run at the Tate Modern, making it the museum

When the exhibition was shown in London earlier this year, it drew more than 560,000 people during its nearly five-month run at the Tate Modern, making it the museum's most popular show ever.

The show, "Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs," which runs from October through next February at the Museum of Modern Art, includes 100 works from private and public collections. They include drawings, textiles and stained glass from the final years of the renowned artist, who died in 1954 at the age of 84.

"He talked about the distinction between drawing and color and for him he saw those as two irreconcilable things. With the cut-outs, he was able to do that because if you think about a painted piece of paper and cutting with scissors into it, you're actually making a line in color and Matisse described that as cutting directly into color, and so for him, it was this amazing way of bringing something together that he had always thought had to remain separate," said Jodi Hauptman, the curator.

Matisse was already famous for his vivid paintings when he began to draw with scissors, cutting colored and painted paper into various shapes.

"When he made those, he was using pins to fasten the works, to fasten the cut forms onto a board, and then ultimately onto the walls of his own studio and he became very interested in the materiality of that paper, the kind of pliability and flexibility, the way it curled off the wall or if you walked by it, it might have even moved, fluttered with the breeze," Hauptman said. 

The exhibition includes larger works such as "The Thousand and One Nights," which depicts the story of fictional Queen Scheherazade from the Arabian Nights.

The show also includes "The Swimming Pool," which fills a room in the exhibit with cut-outs of ultramarine blue swimmers, divers and sea urchins.

Inspired by a visit to a favorite pool in Cannes, Matisse made the work on walls lined with canvas in his dining room in Nice.

Other highlights include "The Parakeet and the Mermaid," a massive cut-out work covering an entire wall with bright blues, greens, reds and blues. There is also "Ivy in Flower," a large maquette for a stained glass window. 

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