Masterpieces like Matisse’s

Henri Matisse has always been one of my favorite artists. Long before I studied him in college, I fell in love with his use of vibrant colors and the fluidity of his designs. On a trip to Europe last summer, I had the opportunity to see exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam called From Matisse to Maevich: Pioneers of Modern Art from the Hermitage.  The exhibition featured several of Matisse’s works, and I was in heaven. I circled around and around the galleries, back and forth between works of art, until I had thoroughly exhausted my travelling companion. That being said, I was ecstatic to hear that the DMA was going to have an exhibition focused on one of Henri Matisse’s largest works, Ivy in Flower. And, as if things couldn’t get any better, I discovered that the work was going to be on display right in my “backyard”—in the concourse in front of the entrance to the Center for Creative Connections.

Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower, 1953

Henri Matisse is probably best known as a painter and a member of the Fauves (French for Wild Beasts), a group of artists who painted using bright, expressive, and often unrealistic colors. Matisse fell ill later in his life, making it increasingly difficult for him to paint, but he continued to make art. He began to make paper cutouts from gouche-coated papers, a method of working that he referred to as “painting with scissors.” Matisse cut shapes out of the brightly colored papers using scissors and then assembled them into collages. When he was ready, he would have his assistants pin the collages to the wall so that he could continue to make modifications. When Matisse was satisfied with the arrangement, his assistants glued the pieces into place and then adhered the work to a sturdy backing such as canvas.

The story behind Henri Matisse’s 1953 paper cutout Ivy in Flower is told through the exhibition Afterlife: The Story of Henri Matisse’s Ivy in Flower , which is currently on view at the Dallas Museum of Art.  The large 9.3 x 9.3 ft. work is a full scale maquette for a stained glass window that Matisse designed for the mausoleum of art collector Albert Lasker. While Matisse’s design for the window was never realized at the mausoleum, Ivy in Flower is a gorgeous cutout with an interesting history. It is certainly worth a trip down to the DMA to see the exhibition and learn more about the work!

Making paper cutouts is a fun project that you can do at home, too. Follow these instructions to make your own Matisse-rpiece!

1. Paint white paper and let it try, or gather different colors of construction paper.

2. Use scissors to cut out different shapes from the paper. Save both the shapes and the scraps.

3. Practice arranging the shapes and scraps on a larger piece of paper. Matisse continuously re-arranged his paper cut-outs until he found just the right order.

4.When you find an arrangement that you like best, glue the paper down to secure your very own Matisse-rpiece!

Matisse’s Ivy in Flower paper cut out will be on display in the Concourse through December 11, 2011.

Posted by: Jackie

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1 Comment

Filed under Art Stops, In the galleries, Just for Fun

One response to “Masterpieces like Matisse’s

  1. Pingback: They’ve Got Game: The Art of Achievement | We Art Family! The DMA Family Blog

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