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“The Codomas” (1943)

“The Codomas” (1943)

Towards the end of his life, Henri Matisse was in poor health, and found his typical painting method too physically taxing. So it was out of necessity that he first started experimenting with paper art. He created shapes with scissors that echoed forms from his paintings, and with the help of assistants, arranged these forms in colorful compositions of paper and gouache.

This work was genius in its simplicity. The focus was on color, shape, and distilling forms to their most elementary level. But despite this simplicity, the pieces all have a powerful sense of movement. Even considering all of his earlier masterpieces, many view Matisse’s cut paper works as some of the the strongest and most lasting of his career.

This body of work is an excellent example of making the best of a bad situation, and doing a lot with a little. It meshes perfectly with one of Househappy’s guiding principals: less is more.

“Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” will be on view at Museum of Modern Art in New York through February 8th, 2015.

Matisse at work, in about 1947.

“Composition, Black and Red” (1947)

“Composition, Black and Red” (1947)

Blue Nude II” (1952)

“Blue Nude II” (1952)

“Palmette” (1947)

“Palmette” (1947)

“Two Dancers” (1937-38)

“Two Dancers” (1937-38)

Source: The New Yorker