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Henri Matisse. The Swimming Pool, Maquette for ceramic (realized 1999 and 2005). 1952 35

Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on painted paper, Overall 73" x 53' 11" (185.4 x 1643.3 cm). Installed as nine panels in two parts on burlap-covered walls 11' 4" (345.4 cm) high. Frieze installed at a height of 5' 5" (165 cm). Mrs. Bernard F. Gimbel Fund. © 2024 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

In this room, you’ll find one of the biggest cutouts Matisse ever made. What do you think it is?

It looks like water. Like waves. Are those people swimming?

This cutout is called The Swimming Pool. Matisse loved swimming. One day he went to the pool for a swim, but it was so hot outside, he was miserable. So he went home and decided to make his own pool, right on his dining room walls.

Matisse asked his assistant to run a long piece of white paper all around the room, just above his head. Then he cut shapes out of paper painted blue, and pinned them onto the white paper. Can you find the people swimming in the water?

There are sea creatures too.