It seems ironic to talk about Matisse, nicknamed the master of colour, while showing a black and white picture of him. He spent his entire life as a painter studying and working with colour - I feel through colour, he once said. He found this calling when his mother offered him a box of paints to entertain himself while recovering from an apendix opperation. He was twenty at the time. At a time when he was going through a series of seizures and bouts of fear, he painted joy, beauty and harmony. Through the years he captured these themes in paper through drawings that he'd later fill with vibrant and solid colours.
In 1941 he is diagnosed with an incurable disease (cancer) that will disable him and keep him from painting, him who painted directly on the canvas! But Matisse won't come to terms with his handicap. So he finds a new way of expressing himself, within his reach: cut-outs. In his hands, the scissors draw the curvy lines in papers that have been previously coloured with gouache. The artist renounces drawing and draws directly in the colour. The results are astounding... Often lying down or confined to a wheelchair, Matisse found a way of changing his destiny and reach the peak of his career - synthesis of syntheses!
A cripple old man's fun, the twilight of a God, infantile frivolities... Who cares? The shapes cut by Matisse are unlike anything at the time. They're not cubist collages, or Kandinsky 's abstract vocabulary, nor the biomorphic signs of Jean Arp. It's a constant return to childhood, like Baudelaire said about genius. In 1947 he publishes a collection of works, which he simply calls "Jazz". It consists of improvisation similar to Charlie Parker's on his saxophone
The Sorrows of the King (1952) was one his last works, a farewell to life, to his surroundings, to everything that was dear to him, reuniting in it everything he wanted to be buried with, like an Egyptian pharaoh. The king, dressed in black, with a guitar in his hands, was Matisse himself.
O Tobogã (1943)
O Palhaço (1943)
A Lagoa (1944)
Nu azul (1952)
Tristeza do Rei (1952)