Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at MoMA

Henri Matisse’s Cut Outs, On View at MoMA Until February 10th.

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at MoMA — On view until mid February is the Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition at MoMA. After a successful career as a painter, Henri Matisse turned to cut-paper collage in his last decade, as he was unable to comfortably articulate a paintbrush because of the difficulties of old age.

Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs | Nazmiyal Design Blog
Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs | Nazmiyal Design Blog

Matisse’s process involved cutting pieces of painted paper, which were often prepared to his specifications by a team of assistants, and arranging the shapes into collaged compositions. These compositions varied greatly in size, from no larger than a postcard, to full room-sized installations. For the smaller works, Matisse composed his collages directly onto boards using pins, while larger compositions were arranged by Matisse’s assistants, as directed by the artist. Often, Matisse would direct his team to rearrange the cut-out pieces, resulting in multiple pin holes in the paper, which are visible in the completed works.

The artist at work on a cut-out composition | Nazmiyal Design Blog
The artist at work on a cut-out composition | Nazmiyal Design Blog

Matisse used a variety of scissor sizes to achieve a fluid cut line in the painted sheets of paper, and was often aided by his team of assistants for larger cuts. This method of collage allowed the artist to focus on the shape and outline of his pieces — There are no drawn lines in his cut-outs, rather, he used only the form of his cut pieces to achieve the shapes of his compositions. Matisse considered his cut out work to be directly related to his painting practice, stating that collage was like “cutting directly into color” and “drawing with scissors”. Interestingly, Matisse claimed that his cut-outs were very influenced by Middle Eastern design, namely the two-dimensional flatness of his compositions, and the mosaic-like effect of his large installations.

The Nazmiyal Design Blog encourages our readers to visit Matisse: The Cut-Outs while on view at MoMA. More information about the exhibition can be found here.

Below, are three vintage rugs that are reminiscent of the bold color and compositions of Matisse’s cut-outs:

Vintage Swedish Rya Rug 47028
Vintage Swedish Rya Rug 47028
Vintage Swedish Deco Rug 46609
Vintage Swedish Deco Rug 46609
Vintage Chinese Deco Carpet 46981
Vintage Chinese Deco Carpet 46981