For the Love of: Henri Matisse
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” - Henri Matisse
The work of Henri Matisse, groundbreaking for its time, paved the way for distilling nature into its most elemental forms. When I first saw one of his famous cutouts, I was astounded by the evolution of his work throughout his career.
Starting in the Impressionist style in the late 19th century he made his name on the Parisian art scene with bold and bright paintings, eventually transforming his craft in the early 20th century because he had to: diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1941 at the age of 71, Matisse was prevented from painting. During his illness he began to cut shapes out of paper painted in bright colors, pinning them to walls in his homes in the south of France. He described the creative process like “painting with scissors” -- rather than painting onto a canvas, he was instead “cutting in.”
As with his bright and bold paintings, his cut-outs make viewers feel exuberant, alive, and joyful, just as he intended. Of this final chapter of his career, he said, “Only what I created after the illness constitutes my real self. Free, liberated.”
Hailed as one of the modern masters, Matisse created his art throughout his life to celebrate life, to have a life of its own, and to make life better. And for that, I am grateful and inspired.
The Lagoon, 1943
White Alga on Orange and Red Background, 1947
The Parakeet and the Mermaid, 1952
La Gerbe, 1953
Danseuse Creole, 1954
Fleurs de Neige, 1958
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