Exhibition of the decade so far

ART

HENRI MATISSE: THE CUT-OUTS

Tate Modern

Five Stars

IT’S A moving story: a great painter whose health is failing him moves into the stage of life we usually associate with greyness and discovers colour.

A 72-year-old Matisse was forced to lay down his brush after a cancer operation in 1941, but this led him to discover “painting with scissors”, the technique of cutting and pasting painted paper that produced some of his best works including The Snail, The Sheaf (pictured) the Blue Nudes and his Jazz series.

Across 14 rooms this exhibition surveys these extraordinarily productive twilight years. And what an exhibition it is. Matisse always had a fascination with dancing and the sense of movement, colours, musicality and light is infectious. As his mobility diminished – in his later years he often worked from his bed – the scale and vibrancy of his work and ambition for his new medium grew. The works induce a pure, unbridled joy of a kind that’s rare in contemporary art exhibitions. For that reason it’s a must-see.