Monday, September 20, 2010

Matisse: The Old Master's Paper Cut Outs

 Henri Matisse "Painting With Scissors"

Late in his life one of the great masters of 20th century painting, Henri Matisse, turned to collage for his final burst of expression and the crowning glory of his career. Having suffered a grave illness he found that he could cut out paper even while laying in bed. For the remainder of his life he relied on the method of cutting shapes out of paper. With the help of his assistant, Lydia Delectorskaya, he would pin them to the white walls of his room where he would study, and rearrange, modifying the shapes until the design was just right, a process that sometimes went on for months. When the design met his satisfaction the pieces would be glued to paper, board or canvas.

Inside the Chapel du Rosaire

Matisee used this technique for what he considered his great masterpiece and the apex of his career, the design of the Chapelle du Rosaire, a project inspired by a young woman who nursed him through his illness and then became a Dominican nun. Matisse designed the entire chapel including the furniture and vestments. His method of cutting out paper was used to design the chapel's stained glass windows.

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