Matisse Cut Outs Tate Modern London

Last Tuesday myself & Mr B went up to the big smoke on the train, 2 hours 10 mins from Manchester Piccadilly and we were there!

Our plan was to go to Borough Market for lunch before going on to Tate Modern for our 3 O’clock viewing of The Matisse Cut Outs. Just to let you know, if you’re thinking of going, to the exhibition, on spec, don’t. It was packed and the tickets have to be pre booked, with viewings every 15 minutes, so book before you get there. As with all the best laid plans, they sometimes go wrong and the que for the underground to Blackfriars was so long we ended up arriving with only time for a quick coffee and delicious banana loaf cake but hey ho?

The Tate Modern is a monster of a building, it’s previous incarnation was as a power station, built in 1947, so it’s vast, with very industrial sharp lines and angles, but impressive and in a great position, on Bankside, right on the edge of the Thames.

I have always loved the work of the artists living in France in the inter and post war years, the work, at that time, of Jean Cocteau, Picasso and Matisse has always been a style I have admired and sought out to view, with it’s curlicues and magical figueres, simple line drawings, stars and mystical symbols. I’ve been to The Picasso Museum in Barcelona and Antibes, visited Le salle Des Mariages, which Jean Cocteau decorated in Menton and viewed Matisse’s blue nude cut outs at Musee D’Orsay, but nothing prepared me for the extend and vast size of the collection curated by Tate Modern. It was spectacular and inspiring and very moving to think that Matisse, as an old man and in the last years of his life, was still so driven to produce art every day.

His love of colour and expertise at mixing just the right tone is obvious in every piece exhibited.

I remember 25 years ago when we bought our first home together, wanting to make a seaweed shaped stencil and decorate the whole of our lounge walls in stone and cream cut outs of our very own, so it was wonderful to see my original inspiration, in life size splendour. Sorry I have no photo of this, you’re not really supposed to take photographs, but I snuck a few in.

A few years ago designer, Minn Hogg, the founding Editor of World of Interiors, designed a range of wallpapers and fabrics, reflecting references taken from seaweed. They are perfect for bringing a little bit of Matisse’s style to your home.

Celia Birtwell, another favourite surface print designer of mine, also references mystical figures and symbols in her work and although she has now sadly shut up her shop in London, a selection of her designs are available on line.

Have any of you been to see The Matisse Cut outs? What did you think and were you inspired. I’d love to know?

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