Matisse at the Tate: cut and paste

Edward Lucie-Smith admires an ambitious exhibition but with the reservation that something is missing

alt="" width="1597" height="2118" srcset="http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Matisse-Icarus-copy.jpg 1597w, http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Matisse-Icarus-copy-226x300.jpg 226w, http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Matisse-Icarus-copy-772x1024.jpg 772w, http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Matisse-Icarus-copy-41x55.jpg 41w" sizes="(max-width: 1597px) 100vw, 1597px" />The big new exhibition of Matisse’s Cut-Outs at Tate Modern in London is, certainly on the face of it, everything that a major museum of Modern and Contemporary Art should be doing. It is beautifully presented, very professionally curated, has an extremely thorough, excellently illustrated catalogue and has been greeted with ecstatic

reviews. It google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; is thronged

he used were painted in gouache to his exact specifications. Once cut, they were pinned in place according to his directions.

Matisse had already

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experimented with designs made from cut and pasted paper in

the 1930s – //--> the projects he tackled included decors for the ballet and maquettes for book covers. When
he did these collage was already long established as one of the typically ‘modernist’ methods of image
making. Picasso and other Cubists had made radically experimental use of it. Collage techniques had
also been extensively employed by amateur artists throughout the 19th

century. Interestingly the word ‘collage’ seems to be absent from the catalogue. Matisse was not completely an innovator in this phase of his work.

The real starting

point for the Cut-Outs was the serious illness //--> that Matisse suffered from in 1941. He was google_ad_width = 970; operated on for duodenal cancer and nearly died from resultant complications. As a result he was unable to stand up /* xin-1 */ for long periods, and had to make art while

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seated
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in a
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wheel chair, from another specially adapted chair, or reclining in

direction, and some /* xin2 */ not.

If src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> one

reads the Tate catalogue attentively, it is possible to detect
a certain note of nostalgic regret that appears when these records of the images in situ in Matisse’s
several studios are discussed. What the authors of the various essays seem to long for is permission to hail Matisse as the pioneer, perhaps even the God the Father, of the current Post Modernist tendency to promote installation as

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the pinnacle or ne plus ultra of late Modernist and Post-Modernist creativity. The problem is

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that they can’t quite bring themselves to say this in so many words. As it happens, their silence is justified by what one actually
sees at the Tate.

Wonderfully decorative as many of

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them are, it is clear google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; that a certain loss of freshness took place when the src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> Cut-Outs were removed from Matisse’s studio and