Abstract Critical

Matisse’s Cut-Outs (2)

Written by Jasper Joffe

Henri Matisse, The Horse, the Rider, and the Clown, 1943-4, Maquette for plate V of the illustrated book Jazz 1947. © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Claude Planchet © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2013

Henri Matisse, The Horse, the Rider, and the Clown, 1943-4, maquette for plate V of the illustrated book Jazz 1947. © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jean-Claude Planchet. © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2013

1. The show is over-hyped. Veronese is a much more important show for artists.
2. The cut-outs are static, without the shifting, brilliant, worked and re-worked, amazing genius of his paintings.
3. The best of the big ones remind me of Abstract Expressionists like Morris Louis.
4. If he had been physically fit, these works would have been painted. Pared down Matisse paintings would have been better.
5. The religious ones have a queasy phoniness. When the modern post-religious idiom is applied to Christianity, you usually get rubbish.
6. The frilly leaf-shape gets boring.
7. Richard Hamilton upstairs is worse.
8. People like the Cut-Outs because they’re pretty patterns and not much else, whereas real Matisse uses pretty-crazy patterns to make disturbing paintings.

This piece was originally published on www.worldwidereview.com

  1. Lynne said…

    The Cut-Outs say “yes” in the most emphatic way and “yes” is what humans crave.

  2. Patrick Jones said…

    I havent seen the show yet but I have seen some cut-outs at MOMA ,particularly the swimming pool[La Piscine].There is a whole new chapter to Modernist Colour Painting in the understanding of these works .Matisse was pioneering a completely new territory,which Hoffmann understood.Very good Modern painters,like John Mclean and Mali Morris are heirs to this lineage.Take the work seriously ,examine it and you will learn something you didnt know before.Paint at the same time as studying and a whole new world of brilliance will open up.

  3. Peter Stott said…

    Quite agree, the cut-outs are no way an advancement of his paintings, although there is a certain appeal to the concrete aspect of the process in having to make the cutting decision that defines the pictorial shape/s

  4. CAP said…

    The Hamiltons are definitely WORSE!

  5. Mr Scissors said…

    9. Attention seeking by always being contrary becomes tiresome…

    • simeon said…

      It is contrary but the received wisdom that all phases of an artists career are important because they are modern masters is equally tiresome. Picasso and Matisse both had good and periods. The cutouts are less interesting than the revised, erased probing Matisse.

      • Mr Scissors said…

        That may be so but dismissing a phase has to be informed.
        One of Matisse’s greatest periods was from around 1908 until 1917/18. The early 1920′s was less interesting, more conservative in fact but we also find evidence of this in Picasso’s work of the time and many others working in the period after the First World War. However, the late cut-out period is on the whole, exceptional.