From the 1940’s, Henri Matisse began cutting directly into coloured paper. He describe this as “cutting directly into vivid colour” or “drawing with scissors”. The works came to be known as Cut-Outs and form a significant body of late work by the one of the 20th centuries most extraordinary artists.
The process of making these works began as a means of laying out the designs for book covers and for the stage. Matisse later scaled up and began pinning shapes directly the wall. Studio assistants would use large brushes to paint the paper in the colours that Matisse required for the cut-outs. Matisse who was by then confined to a wheelchair, would have an assistant pin and unpin the cut-outs while Matisse played with the composition. Matisse frequently used colours for their harmonies and their contrasts.
Matisse would sometimes use both the positive cut out shape and negative left over shape in the same composition as you can see in the image below.
This project is the making of your own cut-out while exploring composition and colour relationships.
Henri Matisse began cutting into coloured paper to make shapes. He then pinned them on a wall or glued them on paper to find new ways of creating beautiful images.
When making these works, Matisse frequently used colours that looked good together. You can see some of the works he did above. Can you see the bird shape hidden in the picture below?
This project is the making of your own cut-out picture.