Matisse Exhibit Brings Color to New York

By Adela Julevic ‘16

Splashes of bright colors and intricate shapes of fruits, flowers, people, and animals attracted waves of all age groups to the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibit on the sixth floor of the Museum of Modern Art.

Half of the floor consisted of the actual exhibit, while the rest of the floor consisted of the gift shop selling calendars, notebooks, post cards, and copies of the artwork.

A blue and white wall near the entrance greeted the guests. The wall displayed Henri Matisse’s biography, which could be read while standing on line or as you enter.

He created these cutouts during the last decade of his life. He’d guide studio assistants around his apartment to pin his cutouts on the walls.

Matisse described the process of creating the cutouts as both “cutting directly into color” and “drawing with scissors.”

The cutouts varied from religious symbols, such as crosses and cathedral-like stained glass windows, to abstract female bodies and nature.

The exhibit consisted of nine rooms, each full of herds of people. Parents would lift up their children to get a closer look at pieces and marveled at the bright colors. Visitors would touch the glass covering and trace the cutout with their finger or sit and interpret the image from a distance.

One room consisted of a film, which attracted a huge audience. The film showed Matisse painting and cutting large sheets of paper that would be used in his masterpiece.

The most interesting parts of the exhibit were the room containing the Blue Nude series and the room containing The Swimming Pool. 

The Blue Nudes covered every wall of the room. Collages of framed blue silhouettes covered half the room and attracted a decent amount of people. The other half of the room displayed pencil and pen drawing of Acrobats and The Dance. The artworks were so full of life and the color scheme went together.

The Swimming Pool also covered two walls of another room, from floor to ceiling. The cutouts were pinned on a white background and mounted on burlap. The swimmers and sea life were cut out from blue gouache on paper. The divers are seen jumping and swimming through the water.

The Parakeet and the Mermaid covered an entire wall in one room. This piece consists of bright blue, green, purple, and orange leaves. The leaves are mixed with blue pomegranates. On the far left, there is a blue parakeet pinned and on the top right, the blue mermaid is placed. Matisse’s desire to grow a garden inspired this piece. After being confined to a wheelchair, he decided to create his own garden in his studio apartment.

The MoMA will continue to showcase this exhibit until February 10, 2015. Tickets can be sold at the museum or be purchased on-line. Children (16 and under) are free and full-time students with an ID pay $8.00 for a ticket. The Museum of Modern Art is located in Manhattan on 11 West 53 Street.

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