Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs, at MOMA

Matisse The Cut Outs Signage
All Photos By Gail

I’ll admit that I was feeling rather nonchalant about seeing the Henri Matisse exhibit at MOMA and believed it would not be big deal if I missed it. But, man, am I glad that Geoffrey and I happened to see it this past weekend, because it is a phenomenal show that has totally changed my mind about Matisse, an artist whose work I never took that much interest in. Great art can do that to you.

Matisse The Cut Outs

This was one of no those “No Photography Allowed” exhibits, so I will apologize in advance for getting heads in some shots and occasional lack of focus or composition that is indicative of the “Spy Pic.”

Matisse The Cut Outs

Here’s a bit of background on the exhibit from Moma Dot Org:

In the late 1940s, Henri Matisse turned almost exclusively to cut paper as his primary medium, and scissors as his chief implement, introducing a radically new operation that came to be called a cut-out. Matisse would cut painted sheets into forms of varying shapes and sizes—from the vegetal to the abstract—which he then arranged into lively compositions, striking for their play with color and contrast, their exploitation of decorative strategies, and their economy of means.

Matisse The Cut Outs

Initially, these compositions were of modest size but, over time, their scale grew along with Matisse’s ambitions for them, expanding into mural or room-size works. A brilliant final chapter in Matisse’s long career, the cut-outs reflect both a renewed commitment to form and color and an inventiveness directed to the status of the work of art, whether as a unique object, environment, ornament, or a hybrid of all of these.

Matisse The Cut Outs Stained Glass

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is a groundbreaking reassessment of this important body of work. The largest and most extensive presentation of the cut-outs ever mounted, the exhibition includes approximately 100 cut-outs — borrowed from public and private collections around the globe — along with a selection of related drawings, prints, illustrated books, stained glass, and textiles. The last time New York audiences were treated to an in-depth look at the cut-outs was in 1961.

Matisse The Cut Outs

Matisse The Cut Outs

This exhibition was sparked by an initiative to conserve The Museum of Modern Art’s monumental cut-out The Swimming Pool (1952), a favorite of visitors since its acquisition by MoMA in 1975. The Swimming Pool is the only cut-out composed for a specific room — the artist’s dining room in his apartment in Nice, France. The goals of the multiyear conservation effort have been to bring this magical environment back to its original color balance, height, and spatial configuration. Newly conserved, The Swimming Pool — off view for more than 20 years — returns to MoMA’s galleries as a centerpiece of the exhibition. Unfortunately, I could not get a photo of The Swimming Pool room but, trust me, it is amazing.

Here are a few more photos I was able to snap of this must-see show!

Matisse The Cut Outs Stained Glass

Matisse The Cut Outs

Matisse The Cut Outs Stained Glass Mock Up

Matisse The Cut Outs

Henri Matisse The Cut Outs will be on Exhibit only until February 10th, 2015 at The Museum of Modern Art, Located at East 53rd Street, NYC. As part of its Special Extended Hours for this Exhibit, the Museum will be open continuously for the show’s final weekend, from February 6th at 10:30 AM to February 8th at 5:30 PM. Timed tickets are required for Non-members. Members get in free and skip the line. Find out more at This Link.

Matisse The Cut Outs

Matisse The Cut Outs

4 thoughts on “Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs, at MOMA

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