Blue Nude II

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Blue Nude II
Blue Nudes Henri Matisse.jpg
Artist Henri Matisse
Year 1952
Type Gouache-painted paper cut-outs
stuck to paper mounted on canvas
Dimensions 116.2 cm × 88.9 cm (45.7 in × 35 in)
Location Pompidou Centre, Paris

Blue Nude II is the second artwork of the Blue Nudes series of cut-outs by Henri Matisse, completed in 1952.


The Blue Nudes series represents seated female nudes, and is among Matisse’s final body of works. Blue Nude IV, the first of the four nudes, took a notebook of studies and two weeks' work of cutting-and-arranging before the resulting artefact satisfied him. In the event, Matisse finally arrived at his favorite pose, for all four works—intertwining legs and an arm stretching behind the neck. The posture of the nude woman is like the posture of a number of seated nudes made in the first years of the 1920s, ultimately, the posture derives from the reposed figures of Le bonheur de vivre.[1]

Cut-out genre[edit]

The Blue Nudes also reflect Matisse’s earlier sculptures. Despite the flatness of paper, the cut-outs are sculptural in their tangible, relief-like quality, especially the sense of volume created by the overlapping of the cut-outs. Blue Nude I, in particular, can be compared with sculptures such as La Serpentine, from 1909.[2]

The color blue signified distance and volume to Matisse. Frustrated in his attempts to successfully marry dominant and contrasting tones, the artist was moved to use solid slabs of single color early in his career, a technique that became known as Fauvism. The painted gouache cut-outs that compose the Blue Nudes were inspired by Matisse's collection of African sculpture and his visit to Tahiti, in 1930. He required another twenty years and a post-operative period of incapacity, before Matisse synthesized those African and Polynesian influences into this seminal series.[3]

The Blue Nudes artwork was shown at the Museum of Modern Art, as part of the exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, from 12 October 2014 to 10 February 2015.[4]


  1. ^ Edlerfield, John (1978). The Cut-Outs of Henri Matisse. New York: George Braziller. p. 27. ISBN 0807608866. 
  2. ^ Edlerfield, John (1978). The Cut-Outs of Henri Matisse. New York: George Braziller. p. 27. ISBN 0807608866. 
  3. ^ Farthing, Stephen; 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die, Cassell Illustrated, 2007, p. 758
  4. ^ Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Museum of Modern Art, retrieved February 28, 2015 

External links[edit]