Matisse. Gouaches découpées
Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was a fighting spirit. Despite a cancer diagnosis in 1941, increasing frailty, and the confines of a wheelchair, the indomitable Frenchman never stopped in his quest to make art. With what he called une seconde vie, a second life, he embarked on a remarkable collage period, cutting and pasting pieces of colored paper into gouaches découpées of birds, plants, flowers, and the female form.
Emphasizing color and contrast, the cut-out technique generated both striking lines and vivid juxtapositions. In works such as Icarus (1943), The Blue Nude (1952), The Snail (1953), and The Sheaf (1953), clean forms and elemental structures power a compositional force that belies the work's decorative appeal, at once tightly organized and infectious with joie de vivre. As his work progressed, Matisse's excitement with his results fueled ever-larger pieces, advancing from small works to vast wall-sized murals.