An iconic paper cut-out collage created by famous French artist, Henri Matisse, goes on show at Tate Liverpool from today.
‘The Snail’ is considered to be one of Matisse’s finest creations and is open for vewing, along with a number of his works, until May 2016.
The Works to Know by Heart: Matisse in Focus exhibition features 15 of his creations, including ‘Andre Derain’, 1905, ‘Trivaux Pond’, 1916 or 1917 and ‘Draped Nude’, 1936.
The main attraction is the 1953 artwork, based on the spiral of a snail’s shell. ‘The Snail’ has only previously been shown in London, New York and Amsterdam. Stephanie Straine, who curated ‘The Snail’ at Tate Liverpool encouraged people in the North West to see the iconic collage in person.
She told JMU Journalism: “This is a really exciting opportunity for our audiences in the North West to see it in person because what you realise is that it’s actually huge compared to how you imagine it, by seeing it on a website or in a book. What we’ve done in the rest of the gallery is encapsulate Matisse’s career in 15 works.”
‘The Snail’ was completed just a year before Matisse’s death. The artist was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in 1941 and, in his final years, painting and sculpting had become physical challenges. Determined to keep creating art, he began cutting sheets of paper, which had been pre-painted with gouache by his assistants, and arrange them to form compositions.
Stephanie added: “For me it’s a nice opportunity to really focus on the Matisse collection on the ground floor, so as soon as our visitors come in, they’re hit with something so punchy as The Snail. It’s surprising that something as monumental as that could be made at the end of the artist’s life. I think it shows Matisse’s lifelong capacity to innovate.”
The other featured works represent over 50 years of Matisse’s endeavours, with the oldest being an artwork from the 19th Century.
The Matisse in Focus exhibition is running in parallel with An Imagined Museum; Works from the Pompido,u to form Tate Liverpool’s autumn and winter season.