During the last fifteen years of his life, Henri Matisse developed his final artistic triumph by "cutting into color." The drama, scale, and innovation of Matisse's rare and fragile papiers coupes (paper cutouts) remain without precedent or parallel. His technique involved the freehand cutting of colored papers into beautiful shapes, which he then pinned loosely to the white studio walls, later adjusting, recutting, combining, and recombining them to his satisfaction. The result created an environment that transcended the boundaries of conventional painting, drawing, and sculpture. Later, the shapes were glued to large white paper backgrounds for shipping or display. This group of cutouts represents one of the largest concentrations of these important works worldwide.
Limited Hours: To protect the pigments and paper of the Matisse cutouts, the light level in the gallery is reduced and the works are on view only between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. weekdays, and 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
On view in the National Gallery's East Building, Concourse.