Towards the end of his monumental career as a painter, sculptor and lithographer, an elderly and sick Henri Emil Benoit Matisse (1860-1954) was unable to stand and use a paintbrush for a long period of time, and so developed the technique of ‘Carving into colour’ creating bright, bold paper cutouts. Though dismissed by some contemporary critics as the folly of a senile old man, these “gouaches decoupees” (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 which would profoundly influence generations of artist to come.
The print was included in the Verve Revue Artistique et Litteraire Volume IX No. 35-36, printed in Paris in 1958. Matisse had specially composed the cover of this volume and under his direction, the first of these plates were printed in the 1954. The book was completed on July 1958 by Mourlot Brothers.
Lithograph on cream wove paper
14 1/8 x 10 3/8 inches sheet
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