This month The Tate, London, released its annual report revealing that this year’s Henri Matisse cut-outs show set an attendance record of more than 562,000. To put it into perspective, that’s more than Damien Hirst’s pivotal 2012 exhibition.
The critics and public were blown away by the joyous landmark show that explored the final chapter in Matisse’s career. Due to ill health, which prevented Matisse from painting, he began ‘carving into colour’ by cutting painted paper with scissors to produce a series of bold, vibrant and spectacular cut-outs.
Called ‘Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs’, the exhibition opened on April 17 and came to a close on September 7. The show was the first time that his work was gathered under one roof with a dizzying collection of 120 works of art made between 1936 and 1954.
Pure, colourful, vibrant and joyful, Matisse defied his age and health to create a new artistic medium that contrasted starkly with an era dominated by the Second World War. Judging by the exhibition’s popularity today, we will start to see elements of that artwork come through in interior trends.
It seems appropriate that Matisse’s wondrous and hopeful final chapter should attract such crowds as our contemporary years of economic strife, recession, wage freezes and austerity take its toll. People are looking for escape, simplicity, brightness, irreverence and colour. That desire for an end to austerity has already sneaked into interior trends and we’ve no doubt that Matisse’s bold work will add to the bright, more flamboyant and fun interior design.
If you missed the exhibition then most of it is moving to New York’s MoMA from October 12, 2014 to February 8, 2015. Matisse’s The Snail will be exhibited at Tate Liverpool, marking the first time it has been shown in the UK outside London.
Also, a live tour of the Matisse exhibition was also broadcast in some 200 cinemas around the UK and initially pulled in 15,000 people. A film of Matisse Live is due to be released in screening rooms around the world shortly – so look out for showings.