22nd April 2014

Hodgkin on “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” at Tate Modern

Hodgkin on “Henri Matisse: The  Cut-Outs” at Tate Modern

Hodgkin’s comments on Matisse for a Time Out article celebrating the opening of the new cut-outs exhibition at Tate Modern:

Complete Time Out article
The Matisse: Cut-Outs exhibition on Tate’s website

“Being 81 I can remember when Matisse’s cut-outs first came on the scene. They were very hard for some people to take: they thought they were related to art work in schools, which is a mistake because they are extremely sophisticated as well as very beautiful. In reproduction they look simple but up-close there’s something very tactile about their surfaces. They are also very surprising in their varied emotional content. People thought: well, he’s an old man and he’s still trying very hard. But I think that in many ways the cut-outs are his most radical works. Matisse was totally immobilised for quite a long time. He couldn’t do the same things physically that he once did, so he did this instead. As an aged artist I’m very envious of his ability to renew himself and make these absolutely extraordinary works. I realise I haven’t got much time left, and can appreciate that sense of urgency. He tells that anything is possible if you believe in it enough, which he so clearly did. I remember the feelings I had when I first saw Matisse’s cut-outs. In England it was virtually impossible to see so-called avant-garde art but I was lucky in that I was able to go during the war to New York and see these things. They are great works by a great artist. I can hardly wait to see them again.”