Room 6: Book and periodical designs

This room brings together cut-out designs for book and periodical covers Matisse made between 1937 and 1954. Over this period he shifted from treating the cut-outs as a practical planning technique to embracing them as a remarkable new medium.

Verve was an arts magazine published by Tériade, who also commissioned Jazz. In the earliest cover shown here, for Verve’s first issue in 1937, the delicate cut paper strips appear to be a substitute for the painted line. Later designs proclaim their cut paper medium more boldly.

The film shown in this room gives a glimpse of Matisse’s handling of paper, how he holds the sheet in the air with one hand while cutting with the other. As the twisting form emerges, it becomes clear that this was a way of working in three dimensions.

Family activity

Most of the works in this room are quite small. Think about how it feels to look at them, how close you need to be to see their details. There are some much bigger works coming up soon.

Download the full guide for families [PDF 535 Kb] and bring it with you on your visit to the exhibition, or you can pick up a copy at the exhibition entrance.