Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs

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Jacqueline on Sketching

Jacqueline on Sketching 6901

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954). Blue Nude II (Nu bleu II), spring 1952. Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on white paper, mounted on canvas. 45 ¾ x 35” (116.2 x 88.9 cm). Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Purchase, 1984. © 2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

GLENN LOWRY: Jacqueline Duhême, one of Matisse’s studio assistants, discusses the role of drawing in Matisse’s cut-out practice:

JACQUELINE DUHEME: We would go to the exit of the municipal sewers in Nice. There you have all these birds, seagulls that would hover and come to eat the wastes that flowed into the sea. This created large movements of seagulls, something he really liked. We would take a cab to go there and he would sketch on his sketchbook.

He would draw movements, flowers, pineapples things that inspired him. While cutting the papers, he would think of a shape he had seen. It was like drawing but with scissors. At some point, he became so skillful that he did not need to draw the shape: he would cut directly into the paper.