Matisse on a Sunday afternoon is the ideal urban outing. Pure colour composed of swatches of painted paper – with the chalky surface you can only achieve with gouache. This paint absorbs the light giving a super flat surface but surprisingly the collages are not flat – the paper overlaps in what appears to be a crude way. You can see pins and the glue used to experiment with the compositions before the perfect balance of negative and positive spaces (or purity and serenity), are achieved. The Cut-Outs is a show to share with friends. It is, as Matisse himself said, art for everyone, " for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters." You would be hard pressed to find anyone not attracted to these colourful gems.
Image: Detail, Henri Matisse, Large Composition with Masks 1953, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Below left: Henri Matisse, The Snail 1953, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted on paper mounted to canvas, Tate
Below right: Henri Matisse, Memory of Oceania 1952-3, Gouache and crayon on cut-and-pasted paper over canvas, MoMA