Matisse cut-outs


If you can get a ticket for the Matisse “cut-out” exhibition at the Tate Modern – go!

There have been two shows at this gallery that have moved me beyond words- one was the Rothko retrospective some five years ago- this is the other.

A picture is worth a thousand words so this blog will be about the pictures and not my reaction.

But I was struck by one observation by Matisse about these works . He mentioned that his pictures should work like music- not on the intellect but on a purely emotional level.

TS Eliot wrote tbat poetry should aspire to the fixity of music, a phrase I took to mean that it should have an emotional impact (as well of course as challenging the brain).

Making sense of these pictures is easy in emotional terms – but hard intellectually- these pictures are hard to explain.

Thanks to the kind people at the Tate who looked away as I clicked my way round the gallery. Thanks to Linklaters for making it possible for me to see these works in the quiet of a Tuesday evening.

I am flying now to Nice where I will be seeing the museum and the church that add the light of the South of France- the only thing missing from a wonderful exhibition.


“By creating these coloured paper cut-outs, it seems to me that I am happily anticipating things to come. I don’t think that I have ever found such balance as I have in creating these paper cut-outs. But I know that it will only be much later that people will realise to what extend the work I am doing today is in step with the future” -Matisse
IMG_4700IMG_4701IMG_4683 IMG_4686 IMG_4687 IMG_4689 IMG_4691IMG_4694IMG_4710IMG_4711IMG_4682IMG_4712It is no longer the brush that slips and slides over the canvas, it is the scissors that cut into the paper and into the colour. The conditions of the journey are 100% different. The contour of the figure springs from the discovery of the scissors that give it the movement of circulating life. This tool doesn’t modulate, it doesn’t brush on , but it incises in , underline this well ,because the criteria of observation will be different’- Matisse



“With my eyes wide open I absorbed everything as a sponge absorbs liquid. It is only now that these wonders haveIMG_4734returned to me with tenderness and clarity”- Matisse



About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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