Matisse’s wild, colourful, cut-outs

HENRI MATISSE’S reputation as one of the icons of 20th century art was secured long before he reached his sixties. Yet it was in his eighties that he produced some of his most famous images.

Matisse burst onto the art world in 1905 as part of a group of artists known as the Fauves - French for wild beasts. It was applied to their group because of their ‘wild’ use of strong, bright, vibrant colours, which pointedly exaggerated or disregarded how colours appear in nature.

The Frenchman’s fluid style, bright colours, draughtsmanship, and painting style won him many admirers. Even arguably superior artists like Picasso looked up to him. Yet as he advanced in years he never lost his appetite for art or for looking at new ways in which to express himself and explore ideas and the last four years of his life were extremely productive as Galway will witness next month.

Matisse: Drawing with Scissors runs from July 12 to 25 in the Galway City Museum as part of the Galway Arts Festival 2010. The exhibition will feature 35 lithographs, made in the 1950s, and which include such famous works as The Snail and the Blue Nudes.

“The genius of Henri Matisse is captured in this vibrant collection,” said the arts festival artistic director Paul Fahy. “Matisse is known as a decorative artist because he painted shapes with curved outlines filled with large, flat areas of colour. This style culminated with the large cut-outs, a process he referred to as ‘drawing with scissors’.

“Although the technique used in this collection had a simple style, the results are nonetheless quite breathtaking. Some works are beautifully simple, while others are astonishing in their detail. Each piece, with its vibrant colour and design, leaps off every page, an expression and sensation of sheer joy.”


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