An exhibition opens today (Saturday) at BabylonARTS by the Waterside in Ely.
Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, features 35 lithographic prints of the famous cut out produced during his final years.
Frenchman Henri Matisse was born in 1869. During his life he was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. He studied law and worked as a court administrator before taking up painting in 1889 after his mother bought him a painting set while ill.
He soon became renowned for his work in fauvism and even more famously in colourism. He even created many famous sculptures including Le Serf.
The Late Years
Matisse continued creating highly original works well into his eighties. For his cut-outs he used paper that had been hand-painted with gouache, laid down in abstract or figurative patterns: ‘the paper cut-out allows me to draw in the colour… Instead of drawing the outline and putting the colour inside it… I draw straight into the colour’. The colours he used were so strong that he was advised by his doctor to wear dark glasses.
The lithographic reproductions in this exhibition are taken from a special double issue of Verve, a review of art and literature, published by Tériade, a major publisher of fine art books in 1958. This exhibition gives a brilliant overview of Matisse’s late work, including many of his iconic images, such as The Snail – the original is owned by Tate Collection, and usually on display at Tate Modern – and the Blue Nudes.
Matisse began his working life as a lawyer, before going to Paris to study art in 1890. At first strongly influenced by the Impressionists, he soon created his own style, using brilliant, pure colours, and started making sculptures as well as paintings. In 1905 he and his colleagues were branded the Fauves (wild beasts) because of their unconventional use of colour, and it was during this time that he painted his celebrated Luxe, Calme et Volupté (Luxury, Tranquillity and Delight). ‘There is no gap between my earlier pictures and my cut-outs’, Matisse wrote; ‘I have only reached a form reduced to the essential through greater absoluteness and greater abstraction’.
The exhibition is open most days until 13th March. See http://www.babylonarts.org.uk for more information.
BabylonArts Gift Shop
As a fund raiser, why not visit the gift shop in the exhibition hall. All items are local artists work for which Babylon retain a small fee to pay for exhibitions such as this.