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MATISSE: drawing with scissors

Henri Matisse, Nu bleu II (Blue Nude II), 1952 (lithographic reproduction, 1958). © Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2022

The French painter, sculptor and designer, Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was one of the 20th century's most influential artists. Prints of his famous cut-outs will be on display at Guildford House Gallery from 21 January - 25 March 2023.

Matisse: drawing with scissors, is a Hayward Gallery Touring Exhibition from the Southbank Centre. It features 35 posthumous prints of the cut-outs produced by Henri Matisse in the last four years of his life, when confined to bed by ill health. It includes many of his iconic images, such as The Snail and the Blue Nudes.  

Matisse continued creating highly original works into his eighties. For his cut-outs he used paper hand-painted with gouache, which he carved into with scissors. The colours he used were so strong that he was advised by his doctor to wear dark glasses.

'There is no gap between my earlier pictures and my cut-outs', Matisse wrote. 'I have only reached a form reduced to the essential through greater absoluteness and greater abstraction.' 

Lead councillor for Heritage, Cllr John Redpath says:

"This is a fantastic exhibition for Guildford House Gallery. Matisse's vibrant works are celebrated for their extraordinary richness and luminosity of colour. His spectacular paper cut-outs were his final triumph. It's great that our residents and visitors to Guildford will have the opportunity to see these famous works on their doorstep."

"We welcome visits from schools and families. Schools should call 01483 444751 to book their free visit. A teacher's pack is available for school bookings. Aimed at Key Stage 3 students and above, the pack can be adapted to suit students of any age."

"Activity sheets are available for Key Stage 2 students, younger visitors and families."

Matisse: drawing with scissors will be on display at Guildford House Gallery, 155 High Street, Guildford, GU1 3AJ. Admission is free. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm (last entry 4pm). For more information see the Visit Guildford website.

Matisse's work has inspired the creation of artwork by members of charities Headway Surrey and Halow Project. Their Collages and Cut-outs exhibition will also be on display in the Garden Room at Guildford House Gallery.

Picture credit: Henri Matisse, Nu bleu II (Blue Nude II), 1952 (lithographic reproduction, 1958). © Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2022

About Hayward Gallery Touring
Hayward Gallery Touring organises contemporary art exhibitions that tour to galleries, museums and other publicly funded venues throughout Britain. In collaboration with artists, independent curators, writers and partner institutions, Hayward Gallery Touring develops imaginative exhibitions that are seen by up to half a million people in over 45 cities and towns each year. 

About Southbank Centre 
Southbank Centre is the UK's largest arts centre, occupying a 17 acre site that sits in the midst of London's most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit

About Guildford House Gallery
Address: Guildford House Gallery, 155 High Street, Guildford GU1 3AJ 
Admission: Free 
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm (last entry 4pm) 
Telephone: 01483 444751 

Public enquiries about Hayward Touring Exhibitions: 020 7921 0837