Henri Matisse: Cut-outs, Drawing With Scissors

Edited by Gilles Néret & Xavier-Gilles Néret
334 pages
15 x 11.5 inches

Toward the end of his career as a painter, sculptor, and lithographer, Matisse was unable to stand and use a paintbrush for a long period of time. In this late phase of his life, he developed the technique of “carving into color,” creating bright, bold paper cut-outs. Though dismissed by some contemporary critics as the folly of an old man, these gouaches decoupées (gouache cut-outs) in fact represented a revolution in modern art, a whole new medium that re-imagined the age-old conflict between color and line. In their deceptive simplicity, the cut-outs achieved both a sculptural quality and an early minimalist abstraction that would profoundly influence generations of artists to come. Exuberant, multi-hued, and often grand in scale, these works are pillars of twentieth-century art.

This new TASCHEN edition of the original prize-winning XL volume provides a thorough historical context to Matisse’s cut-outs, tracing their roots in his 1930 trip to Tahiti through to his final years in Nice. It includes many photos of Matisse, some rare color images, by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï, and the filmmaker Murnau and text from Matisse, Picasso, publisher E. Tériade, Matisse’s son-in-law, Georges Duthuit, and the poets Louis Aragon, Henri Michaux, and Pierre Reverdy.