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Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, Late Works 1950-1954

A Hayward Touring Exhibition from the Southbank Centre, London

Henri Matisse. Nu bleu II, 1952. Lithographic reproduction. © Succession H. Matisse/DACS 2017

The French painter, sculptor and designer, Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. His vibrant works are celebrated for their extraordinary richness and luminosity of colour and his spectacular paper cut-outs were his final triumph. Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, a Hayward Touring exhibition from the Southbank Centre, features 35 lithographic reproductions of the famous cut-outs that he produced in the last four years of his life, when confined to his bed. It includes many of his iconic images, such as The Snail and the Blue Nudes. It comes to The Point from 4 November 2017 and will be on display until 6 January 2018.

Matisse continued creating highly original works into his eighties. For his cut-outs he used paper hand-painted with gouache, which he carved into with scissors:

the paper cut-out allows me to draw in the colour … Instead of drawing the outline and putting the colour inside it…I draw straight into the colour.

The colours he used were so strong that he was advised by his doctor to wear dark glasses.

The lithographic reproductions in this exhibition are taken from a special double issue of Verve, a review of art and literature, published by Matisse’s friend, the critic and fine art publisher Tériade, in 1958, four years after Matisse’s death.

Matisse began his working life as a lawyer, before going to Paris to study art in 1890. At first strongly influenced by the Impressionists, he soon created his own style, using brilliant, pure colours, and started making sculptures as well as paintings. In 1905 he and his colleagues were branded the Fauves (wild beasts) because of their unconventional use of colour, and it was during this time that he painted his celebrated Luxe, Calme et Volupté (Luxury, Tranquillity and Delight).


There is no gap between my earlier pictures and my cut-outs, Matisse wrote; I have only reached a form reduced to the essential through greater absoluteness and greater abstraction.

During the exhibition, on Saturday 18th November local artist Karen Hall will be offering family workshops to create a bright and colourful poster to take home using a wonderful selection of vivid coloured papers inspired by the ‘Drawing with Scissors’ exhibition. To book your place call us on 01302 341662 or email

The exhibition is free to all visitors. School visits are welcomed and free teacher resources are available. Please note, the gallery will be closed to the public on the following dates for school visits: 7 December, 14 December, 21 December 2017.

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