Friday, May 29, 2015Friday, May 29, 2015

Rare reunion of French painter Matisse's Blue Nude paper cut-outs at Tate

Published on Apr 15, 2014 10:55 AM
Ms Sophie Matisse, great granddaughter of artist Henri Matisse, poses with his artwork Blue Nude III (Nu Bleu III) (left) and Blue Nude II (Nu Bleu II) at the Tate Modern gallery in London on April 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Even when he was in his 80s and in frail health, the French painter, sculptor and, latterly, master of painted cut-out paper Henri Matisse, still had it.

That, in part, is what an exhibition of Matisse's late-life works, some huge and covering most of the gallery walls, demonstrates in the show opening this week at London's Tate Modern, and then heading to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

For one of the rare occasions since Matisse made them in the south of France in the early 1950s, his four Blue Nudes are together again in one room - much to the delight of Tate director Nicholas Serota. "These works were together in the studio and they've only rarely been together since," he said at a preview on Monday, noting that they had never been together in Britain before.

Nor does he consider working with paper cut-outs - an activity usually confined to nursery art classes - child's play. "I think that kids in school increasingly cut out paper in emulation of Matisse," Serota said, noting that a film at the beginning of the exhibition shows the elderly painter using scissors with amazing dexterity. "You see the simplicity of the format and the sophistication of the compositions and I would defy any child to make a Blue Nude that captures the female form to the degree that he does in these four compositions."

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!