|Type||Gouache on paper|
|Dimensions||287 cm × 288 cm (112+3⁄4° in × 108 in)|
|Location||Tate Gallery, London|
The Snail (L'escargot) is a collage by Henri Matisse. The work was created from summer 1952 to early 1953. It is pigmented with gouache on paper, cut and pasted onto a base layer of white paper measuring 9'43⁄4" × 9' 5" (287 × 288 cm). The piece is in the Tate Modern collection in London.
Description and background
It consists of a number of colored shapes arranged in a spiral pattern, as suggested by the title. Matisse first drew the snail, then used the colored paper to interpret it. The composition pairs complementary colors: Matisse gave the work the alternative title La Composition Chromatique. From the early-to-mid-1940s Matisse was in increasingly poor health, and was suffering from arthritis. Eventually by 1950 he stopped painting in favor of gouaches découpées, paper cutouts. The Snail is a major example of this final body of works.