Ivy in Flower
Henri Matisse ( French, 1869 - 1954 )
In the last years of his life, Henri Matisse was too crippled to paint. He began to work with gouache-coated papers, cutting out shapes and having them assembled into large collages. These late paper works have the splendid, clear color sense and feeling of pleasure in life that is found in Matisse’s work throughout his career. One of the most untroubled of modern artists, Matisse always derived pleasure in the art of making, which is apparent in the masterly ease and ample colorism of the collages made when he was old and dying. Ivy in Flower, a design for a stained glass window, superimposes a grid pattern on the cut-out shapes. Far from hampering the radiant gaiety of the flowers and ivy leaves, the lines give the work a formal coherence. In this summation of his art, it is easy to see how Mediterranean—how classical in the deepest sense—Matisse was.