An exhibition by Henri Matisse (1869-1954), one of the 20th-century’s most influential artists, is opening at the Lady Lever Art Gallery as part of Wirral Year of Culture.
Matisse: Drawing with Scissors will feature 35 posthumous prints of the famous cut-outs that the artist produced in the last four years of his life when confined to his bed, including many of his iconic images, such as The Snail(pictured) and the Blue Nudes.
Celebrated for their extraordinary richness and luminosity of colour, Matisse’s vibrant cut-outs were the final triumph of his career.
Matisse: Drawing with Scissors is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition from the Southbank Centre.
Kate O’Donoghue, Curatorial Trainee at National Museums Liverpool, said: “Henri Matisse is a world-famous artist and this exhibition includes many of his iconic images, such as The Snailand the Blue Nudes. We are proud that Matisse is coming to Wirral for the first time in over ten years and during Wirral Borough of Culture Year”.
The French painter, sculptor and designer, Matisse, continued creating highly original works into his eighties. The colours he used were so strong that he was advised by his doctor to wear dark glasses.
For his cut-outs he used paper, hand-painted with gouache, which he carved into with scissors, saying: ’the paper cut-out allows me to draw in the colour … Instead of drawing the outline and putting the colour inside it…I draw straight into the colour’.
Matisse began his working life as a lawyer, before going to Paris to study art in 1890. At first strongly influenced by the Impressionists, he soon created his own style, using brilliant, pure colours, and started making sculptures as well as paintings. In 1905 he and his colleagues were branded the Fauves (wild beasts) because of their unconventional use of colour.
‘There is no gap between my earlier pictures and my cut-outs’, Matisse wrote; ‘I have only reached a form reduced to the essential through greater absoluteness and greater abstraction’.
The lithographic reproductions in this exhibition are taken from a special double issue of Verve. This was a review of art and literature published by Matisse’s friend, the critic and fine art publisher Tériade, in 1958, four years after Matisse’s death.
The publication was planned during Matisse’s lifetime and the first lithographic plates were prepared under his direction a few days before he died.