The Snail

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The Snail
Artist Henri Matisse
Year 1953
Type Gouache on paper
Dimensions 287 cm × 288 cm (112 34 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 9'434" × 9' 5" (287 × 288 cm). The piece is in the Tate Modern collection in London.[1]

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 (chromatic composition).[1] 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.[2] The Snail is a major example of this final body of works.


  1. ^ a b Henri Matisse, The Snail 1953, Tate Gallery, retrieved August 5, 2012]
  2. ^ "Henri Matisse", Pompidou Centre. Retrieved 25 December 2007.

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