Henri Matisse - The Blue Nudes 1952/1954 - The Power of Imaginary and Colour
15 July 2020
The ‘cut-paper’ works. The emotive series of studies of the ‘Nude in Blue’ which Matisse created in his unique personally invented medium of cut-paper are amongst the most famous images from the last decade of his life. He invented the concept of ‘painting with scissors and sheets of specially painted paper’ during his final years when handling a brush or standing at an easel were no longer possible. Necessity inspired him to one of the greatest creative moments of his art.
The ‘cut-paper’ lithographs. Matisse was almost as much a graphic artist as a painter, and realising that many of his images created using cut-paper were extremely large in format, he was also acutely aware that, using colour lithography, he could translate the forms down to a size which would allow him to communicate his new concept to the wide popular market.
He had worked at Fernand Mourlot’s Paris lithography studio since the 1920’s and knew that working with Mourlot he could echo the vibrance of the blue and capture and express the special vitality of the cut-outs through the flat surface of lithography. Collaborating also with his old friend Tériade, who published the inspired art magazine Verve, the lithographs could bring this new and revolutionary image-making to the widest public. Tragically, having agreed the whole concept and execution, Matisse died before all the editions could be issued. The Verve album was finally published in 1958. The issued edition size is not known but the original 1958 edition, as here, is the only issue printed exactly as Matisse wished.